Illinois Department of Human Services

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Illinois Democrats are asking Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration for more information about state leases of private warehouses.

The Senate Appropriations Committee questioned agency directors Thursday over decisions to lease property instead of using existing state buildings to store records.

Illinois is accepting applications for EPIC, a program that helps those on food assistance find gainful employment. 

Meredith Krantz, a spokeswoman  says participants will receive one-on-one career training, connections to high-demand fields, and individualized plans.  

"We're hoping that this program can serve as a launching point for a broader engagement with SNAP participants as we support them in their movement towards independence," she said.  

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

An Illinois Department of Human Services official has told state legislators that group homes for adults with disabilities will face stricter licensing standards and enforcement, and that they'll be graded on safety and quality for the first time.

The Chicago Tribune reports department secretary James Dimas told Senate and House lawmakers the department has launched over a dozen reform measures to increase enforcement of 3,000 group homes across Illinois and boost public transparency involving the care of 12,000 adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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A newspaper investigation has found that self-policing played a role in determining whether neglect has occurred in investigations of Illinois group homes serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Chicago Tribune reports group home employees handled at least 550 cases and helped clear their own group home of wrongdoing in the majority of instances.

Federal regulators say no other states have given caregivers at group homes full-fledged investigative powers.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The state of Illinois has taken another step toward regulating who may get a concealed-carry permit. The Department of Human Services has created an on-line database for mental health professionals to report people who pose a “clear and present danger” to themselves or others.