Advocates Fight to Keep Developmental Center Open

Oct 18, 2012

A state board that authorizes the closure of medical facilities has been urged to reject Governor Pat Quinn's plan to close Jacksonville Developmental Center. Quinn says smaller, community-based homes are better for the institution's developmentally disabled residents. But some parents say those group homes are not up to the job -- and there aren't enough of them in the area to accommodate all the patients at Jacksonville.

Anne Irving is with the state's largest government-employee union, AFSCME, which is fighting the change:

"The real question is: Are there community alternatives that are ready and willing to provide the kind of care the residents of JDC need?"

                     - Anne Irving, AFSCME

 The staff of the Health Facilities And Services Review Board says there are not enough nearby alternatives. The full board will vote on that recommendation later this month -- the day before Quinn had wanted the center closed. The Quinn administration says it "remains committed to providing effective care for (people) with developmental disabilities."

Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report