I think we can see things moving in the right direction…

Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel.  TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.

-Mandy Hale

The Illinois legislature concluded their budget session early this year and I am personally heartened by what I see as a continued authentic effort to improve our state’s financial commitment for services to individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. While our advocacy efforts did not gain additional monies above the Governors introduced budget, there is still significant investment the states service delivery system. 

There is a real benefit to having the long view derived from my almost forty-five years of working within the Illinois system. For many years we have been inadequately funded and not so long ago we were waiting several months or longer to be paid for our services. 

The Guidehouse rate study that the state itself had conducted, has been a true bonus. Having a third party independently identify the actual costs we incur to do what we do is incredibly helpful! 

Here are some highlights to this years budget:

  • Increase in our rate which will allow us to improve hourly wages for our staff
  • Increase in the rates’ non-program cost centers such as administrative costs, transportation costs, and the expenses related to room & board
  • Implementation of a Health Risk Screening Tool that could help adjust residential rates for persons with complex medical needs
  • An increase in the amount of base nursing hours
  • A goal of moving 700 individuals off of the Priority of Urgent Needs list into community based services

I think we can see things moving in the right direction. I truly appreciate all of the phone calls you made and emails you sent. I’m sure we’ll be reaching out for your support during the Fall legislative session as well as next Spring.

This past Monday, May 2nd, I celebrated my 19th year as Executive Director of Garden Center Services! To say that coming to work here changed my life would be an enormous understatement. There is such joy and contentment that comes when one knows that their decisions have brought them to where they were supposed to be. Words cannot express my gratitude for allowing me to be part of this organization, this family. Thank you for all of your support and kindnesses. 

I love the picture of Jimmy & I!  He was here when I arrived 19 years ago and I enjoy seeing him now as much as ever. 

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