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Services for developmentally disabled threatened by budget impasse

devel dis 030717Stories pop up every day all across Illinois about the effects of the budget impasse. Those stories range from facility closures to students who may be on the hook for thousands of dollars for their education. One story in the 18th District shows that the developmentally disabled are especially at risk during the budget impasse.

“Sertoma Centre is just one example of the crisis that the state is facing,” Senator Bill Cunningham said. “We need real governing to ensure that we can end this fiscal crisis that is doing real harm to our community.”

Sertoma Centre has been open in the Alsip area since 1971. The group was created to provide opportunities that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve success. The group serves over 200 people and has three facilities throughout the south suburbs. In the 1990s, Sertoma opened its first Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) home.

Unfortunately, the budget impasse has hit Sertoma Centre hard. The Centre is primarily funded through Medicaid. But due to the budget impasse, delays in payment have meant a financial crisis for the community service center.

“All our services are dependent on state funding with the exception of our school transition program, which is funded through local school districts,” said Gus van den Brink, the executive director of Sertoma Centre.

The agency though has seen declining reimbursement rates for the services they provide. It could only be a matter of weeks before the facility has to start laying off staff due to the budget crunch they face.

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