Community Disability Living Wage Act (HB 5931) Override
Falls Short in the House
November 16, 2016
Earlier today, Representative Robyn Gabel (D-18) brought her motion to override Governor Rauner’s veto of the Community Disability Living Wage Act (HB 5931) to the floor for consideration. Similar in nature to the discussion on the original vote back in May, the need to address the workforce crisis was not in dispute by Democrats or Republicans, but the path to arrive at a solution was not agreed to in a bipartisan fashion in the form of the bill. Suburban Republican Representatives Patti Bellock (R-47), David Harris (R-53), and Margo McDermod (R-37) and downstate Republican Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-100) all spoke of the need to address this issue, but all also spoke of the need to do so in the context of passing a balanced budget. Representative Jeanne Ives (R-42) indicated that this is an issue that should be looked at, but that worker’s compensation reform (among other items) were equally as important. Representative Carol Ammons (D-103) elegantly put that there was no other time than now to address this issue.
When the votes were tallied, the motion fell seven (7) short of the needed 71 votes to override the Governor’s total veto of the legislation. The bill cleared the chamber originally with 67 yes votes. A roll call of the vote can be found here.
A review of the roll call shows that 12 legislators did not vote or were not present for the vote on the legislation. Heading into this week’s Veto Session, Association staff was concerned that both attendance for the Session and solidarity within Republican ranks in sticking with the Governor on his veto were significant factors that might work against a successful outcome. This proved to be the case today. Following the vote, Association staff immediately reached out to the Administration to clearly state our intentions – that this issue did not go away today, and that there is an obligation on all leaders in state government to work towards a resolution ASAP.
It is important to understand that this outcome is not an accurate reflection of the enormous effort that has been underway for several months to move this issue forward. The fact that the Community Disability Living Wage Act cleared the legislature in May is no less significant of an achievement now than it was then. Our efforts working together have elevated the need to solve the workforce crisis to unprecedented levels – with legislators of all stripes and backgrounds committed to resolving this issue. The fact is that effort must and will continue in the weeks and months ahead, particularly as we look to a lame duck legislature in January that may act on the state budget, and the 100th General Assembly that will be sworn in next month.
We now take time to follow up with our legislative leaders in this effort, our allies in advocacy, and those that weren’t with us on this vote but we know are committed to reaching common ground on a solution.
To you, your staff, and your families, we are continuing to do incredible work to ensure DSPs receive a living wage. We’ve experienced a setback, but that is all. We will get this done together!
of Rehabilitation Facilities
Since its incorporation, IARF has been the voice of human service organizations in government. In addition we have worked to provide agencies with individual consultation on issues that affect them specifically. IARF also commits itself to developing programs that return members’ investment of their dues. Our purpose is clear, "To assist in the development and improvement of services in Illinois."
The Association represents nearly 80 member agencies providing services and supports in more than 900 locations across the state of Illinois from Galena to Karnak, Chicago to Metro East St. Louis, and Quincy to Danville. Our membership provides services and supports in 111 of 118 legislative districts representing a unique opportunity to shape public policy as our membership is active at the grassroots level.
FROM OUR DIRECTOR ,
DSP’s: A Casualty of the
State of Illinois Budget Crisis
Their full title is Direct Support Professional, and their work is challenging, rewarding, necessary and underappreciated. The Moultrie County Beacon currently employs 86 trained and certified DSP’s who provide supports ranging from daily personal care (eating, grooming and dressing) to teaching essential skills and attending to complex medical needs for adults with developmental disabilities. DSP’s complete 153 hours of classroom and on-the-job training, criminal background checks and pre-employment and ongoing drug testing.
Funding to pay DSP’s comes from mandated State of Illinois funds provided to meet the needs of adults with developmental disabilities. State payments to support DSP’s have remained stagnant for 10 years, even though the Consumer Price Index has increased by 14% over the same period. Low wages mean that nearly half of Illinois DSP’s rely on some form of public benefits, despite working full time. Low wages also result in high employee turnover creating upheaval in the lives of those who need a stable workforce. In contrast, our state increased wages for personal assistants and support workers in the Community Care and Home Services Programs while workers caring for our developmentally disabled citizens go unnoticed.
The Moultrie County Beacon has proclaimed October 17 – 21 “DSP Week” as a show of support and appreciation for the important work that they do. Please join us in recognizing these caring, hardworking professionals who are the backbone of the service delivery system for people with developmental disabilities – and encourage our state leaders to do the same.
Susan Rauch, Executive Director
Moultrie County Beacon, Inc.
PHILIP & NINA MARTIN
WITH ROBERT SCHUMANN
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, November 5th,2016, Philip and Nina Martin held a musical recital in their home. The piano music performance by Philip Martin, and vocal performance by Dr. Nicholas Provenzale, vocal instructor from Eastern Illinois University, graced the spacious music hall in the Martin home. As they so warmly opened their beautiful home near Sullivan, guests were welcomed to enjoy this musical event for a free will offering to benefit Moultrie County community mental health providers, the Moultrie County Beacon, Inc. and Moultrie County Counseling Center.
The Counseling Center provides outpatient and home based mental health services including direct treatment, education and special support programs for families and individuals of all ages in Sullivan, IL. Along with the Moultrie County Beacon, Inc. these two agencies provide a wide range of services to individuals with mental illness and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
To those who attended this event, we thank you for your benevolence and support. To Philip and Nina Martin, our grateful thank you for supporting the mental health service system in Moultrie County. It is this grassroots participation that is so needed to continue to provide support and service to such underfunded agencies in the State of Illinois.
We can not thank you enough for the generous efforts and gifts given to make sure our DSP’s felt loved and encouraged during DSP RECOGNITION WEEK October 17-21, 2016 at the Moultrie County Beacon.
Here is a sample of how we were able to do to shower our DSP’s with thanks during the week:
On Monday our DSP’s providing around the clock care were treated to fresh donuts at each of our NINE residential homes.
On Tuesday cake pops were delivered for a sweet treat during the day. These cake pops were made by Debra Thompson from Windsor, IL. Her business is the The Cookie Lady and More. We also had cupcakes delivered as a generous offering from Goldie Bontrager and they were just like Goldie….heavenly.
On Wednesday our staff were treated to caramel apples made for them by administrative staff! The jonathan apples were purchased at Okaw Valley Orchard and hand dipped and coated with toppings of their choice among peanuts, chopped M&M’s, pretzel bits and sprinkles. They were delicious and tags read “Thanks for sticking with us” which is truly a sentiment to our DSP’s.
Thursday was a day of training for our residential staff! Ongoing training is required throughout the year and on this day we started with a message from Susan Rauch, our Executive Director about the continued fight for higher wages and our need to contact congressman regarding our push to override the Gov. Rauner’s veto of a pay raise. What happened next is the best part of the story - and will follow in our message below. Staff were treated to a catered lunch of pulled pork, potato salad, cole slaw and chips, served by administrative staff. Gifts were given out throughout the day, made possible by the donations from our families and community.
Friday our DSP’s from Developmental Training had their lunch catered as well and more gifts were showered on them on behalf of all of us who value their work so tremendously.
It was a fabulous week and it is our hope that our DSP staff felt the LOVE that we have for them and how much we value their commitment to the individuals that they come to serve EVERY DAY!
May we give forward
As you give to us
During our Fall Training Day, October 20th, during our DSP Appreciation Week, we had a presentation by United Way with an entertaining video presentation about the funding that is utilized in Moultrie County and a heartwarming story about the success for a young man who benefited from the generosity of donors. Payroll deductions were explained and our DSP’s overwhelmingly responded by signing up to donate from their hard-earned pay. It is said that those with the least, give the most, and with pay raises a distant memory, OUR FOLKS GAVE ANYWAY…….. And we couldn’t be more proud.
Quality of Life Research Study
For Families Impacted by Intellectual Disability
To all parents with a son or daughter of any age with intellectual disability!
The Disability Research Program at Wheaton College, in collaboration with Vanderbilt University, invites you to participate in an anonymous survey to help understand and improve the quality of life for families impacted by intellectual disability. They are inviting hundreds of parents across Illinois and Tennessee to share their views and they want you to take part! Forty parents will be randomly selected to receive a $25 gift card for completing the survey. Also, they will use what they learn to create a free guide for all families who participate, as well as the organizations that serve them. More information available at the following website: www.wheaton.edu/FQOL-study
How can you participate in this research project?
If you are the parent or primary caregiver/legal guardian of an individual of any age with an intellectual disability you can take the online version of the survey by clicking on the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/disabilityresearch (or copying it into a web browser). However, if you desire a print version of the survey, please send an e-mail to Thomas Boehm at email@example.com, call him at (630) 752-5937, or send the following information by mail: Your Name, E-mail, Street Address, City, State, Zip Code, Telephone #. You can mail this information to: Thomas Boehm, Education Dept., 501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187-5593.
*Do you know anyone else with a son or daughter with ID?
Please forward this invitation to them!
FISHING TRIP ON LAKE SHELBYVILLE
Two very lucky fellows enjoyed a guided fishing trip on Lake Shelbyville recently and as you can see they had quite a bit of luck. Fishing with Lake Shelbyville guide Steve Welch, they brought home so many fish, they were able to invite their guide to a fish fry at their home in Sullivan.
Steve wrote of this experience:
Tina and I went to dinner with our new friends from The Moultrie County Beacon. David, Kent and Nathan. We got to see their nice home and had an enjoyable evening. Of course they can't wait to go fishing again!!!!
You see, community residential services are intended to provide individuals with a living arrangement that is much like yours and mine. Individuals are fully integrated into communities, making friends and acquaintances who provide them with enriching experiences and support beyond those who are paid to provide them with care.
The Moultrie County Beacon, Inc. operates nine residential homes in Sullivan and provide Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILA's) to 36 individuals, providing them with 24 hour care and support. These men and women call Sullivan home, and are citizens with the rights and liberties that we all enjoy.
Community integration means that individuals receive the care and support to learn independent living skills in the least restrictive setting possible, quite unlike settings that provided institutional care in decades past. Immense progress has been made in service provision to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Providing care to these individuals is a big responsibility. Our Direct Service Personnel (DSP's) receive classroom and on the job training for over 140 hours upon hiring. They pass rigorous standards for providing care and implement a plan of care that is developed by a community support team led by a Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional, family, guardians, day programming and nursing staff.
Perhaps this gives you a glimpse of the immense importance of this profession. Direct Service Personel do an extremely important job, with oversight by agency staff, case coordination agencies, inspector generals, medical professionals and family members. This is quite unlike a job in fast food, retail sales and other entry level work experience, but the rate of pay for these individuals remains inadequate for providing for themselves outside of poverty level wages. And due to the rates provided to us by the State of Illinois for their compensation, and asking so much of them in regard to the quality of the care that they are expected to provide, this is woefully unfair.
Please consider offering a voice of support for our DSP's and the important job that they do for individuals in their care. These employees provide a high standard of care and their work is so valuable to us all.
THANK YOU FOR THE GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM OUR FRIENDS AT EK PETROLEUM!
During the month of May our friends at EK Petroleum in Sullivan donated 1 cent for each gallon of gas sold at any of their locations.
This effort raised $822.54 which will aid the Moultrie County Beacon, Inc. during this time of budget shortfalls.
EK Petroleum is a generous supporter for many important causes in our area.
Thank You John and Roger
and all of you who supported this effort with your gas purchases!