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WJBD - Local News - Despite Murray Closure Effort, Gov. Quinn Receives Disability Leadership Award from State Group

Despite Murray Closure Effort, Gov. Quinn Receives Disability Leadership Award from State Group

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

Governor Pat Quinn's attempted closure of the Murray Developmental Center, as well as successful closures of other state mental health facilities, was praised during an awards ceremony on Wednesday in Chicago. The state-affiliated Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities presented the Governor with their Outstanding Advocate Award for his Rebalancing Initiative, which calls for the closure of all State Run Mental Healthcare facilities in favor of Community Based care, such as Community Integrated Living Arrangements, or CILAs.

"When I became Governor, we had too many Institutions. We were the most institutionalized state in the union, and we've changed that. We've closed down institutions and invested in community care" Quinn said.

Quinn wants to expand the choices for community care in the Illinois Mental Health system, but wants to remove the choice to keep residents in state facilities.

CILA housing and Community care in general has been criticized by several groups who say that CILAs are underequipped to handle residents with advanced healthcare needs and have no way of dealing with high-risk or violent patients. 

Current Guardian Ad Litem over the wards of the state residing at Murray Center, Stewart Freeman, published a searing affidavit for the federal case against the closure of Murray Center after visiting several CILA homes in Centralia and Mt. Vernon. Among the problems Freeman found were inadequate security, inadequate staffing with long day and hour shifts, lack of staffing experience, lack of supplies and home supports such as fire proofing, padding, and bedding, unsafe conditions such as exposed hazards, lack of knowledge as to client care, low pay, little training and little to no decoration or personalization for the residents.

The Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities is a part of the state government. All members of the council are appointed by the Governor.

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