As a parent of someone with a developmental disability living in a CILA group home, it was great to see Illinois taking steps to rectify a decade of neglect and lack of investment in the system. Direct support workers paid by the state barely make above minimum wage. Illinois House and Senate committees recently passed bills to the full General Assembly that call for a living wage of not less than $15 per hour for those providing essential direct support to persons in the CILA system. Understanding first hand the daily challenges faced by these workers, the responsibilities and requirements of the position vastly exceed those of other minimum wage jobs. The resulting turnover and staffing shortages pose a constantly growing threat to the health and safety of people with disabilities, like my daughter, living in the community.
My representative, Charlie Meier, voted against this bill. Why, when he supported Murray Center? Underfunding, attrition and indifference pose just as great a threat to the lives of CILA residents as someone trying to actively close them as was the case at Murray Center.
Now is the time for all of the families and friends of CILA residents to contact their representative and senator and urge for a “yes” vote on Senate Bill 2952 and House Bill 5931.
Bob Brandkamp, Breese