Investigations Reveal Serious Issues at State Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled
Last September, Choate Mental Health and Development Center came under fire after a controversial report was released detailing complaints of abuse and neglect. In response, the state announced in March that it would respond by downsizing the facility and moving around half of the residents to the other six developmental centers run by the state in an attempt to reform the facility. Unfortunately, this week another report was released by ProPublica detailing not only continued issues of abuse and neglect at Choate, but showing that these issues are rampant at other state-run facilities as well.
The report shows that since 2012, Illinois State Police have opened 200 investigations into employee misconduct at the state’s seven developmental centers, which are responsible for taking care of roughly 1,600 individuals. 161 of the cases involve allegations of physical abuse and criminal battery, 25 pertain to accusations of sexual assault and custodial sexual misconduct, and 10 allege criminal neglect. Four of the investigations were related to the death of a resident.
In February of 2023, every Republican lawmaker in the Illinois Senate and House signed onto a letter calling for public hearings on the situation at Choate. This week, Republican legislators issued another request for open hearings, this time to learn more about the continued issues at all of the state’s facilities for the developmentally disabled.
State Senator Terri Bryant said that the administration has repeatedly failed to properly prioritize the state’s developmentally disabled community, including failing to adequately fund services and address abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, this vulnerable population is continually being left behind.
Report Show High Cost of Childcare in Illinois
A new study on childcare costs from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Illinois parents pay some of the highest costs in the nation. According to the study, for one toddler to attend an Illinois childcare center, parents must pay $1,039 per month and $745 per month for a home care center.
Illinois’ average total cost of childcare comes out to about 11% of the state’s median income of married couples and 37% of a single mother’s income. In Illinois, childcare is the largest expense for parents of children ages 4-8.
The report also notes the ongoing challenges working parents face when it comes to childcare. Nationally, the number of working parents who said childcare problems forced them to miss work in the previous week had never been higher, hitting a record in 2022 at 104,000 families.
Additionally, 13 percent of children birth to age 5 had a family member who faced work challenges related to childcare and more than half of working parents with infants and toddlers reported having been late to work or leaving work early at least once in the previous three months due to childcare problems.
IDOT’s Fiscal Year 2024-2029 Plan Released
Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) announced their newest Multi-Year Program (MYP). This plan will cover the next six years in transportation infrastructure repairs and updates, lasting through fiscal year 2029, and will invest $41 billion collectively over the course of that period in a variety of projects. This money will come from a combination of federal, state, and local funds.
In this annual update to the MYP, roughly $27 billion is earmarked for roads and bridges, while the remaining $14 billion is for public transit, rail, aviation, ports, waterways, and other projects. This program will also support upgrades for broadband access, state colleges, and universities.
All the information on the plan can be found on IDOT’s website, where the program is specifically broken down in a variety of ways.
Upcoming Small Town Tour Stops
Throughout the summer, Sen. Bryant will be making stops around the 58th Senate District to allow constituents to meet with her about issues important to them as part of her Small Town Tour.
In the first leg of her tour, Sen. Bryant will make five stops over three days in July. The communities for the first leg include: Waterloo, Columbia, Red Bud, Chester, and Sparta. The dates of the stops will be July 18, July 19, and July 20.