From The Arc of Winnebago, Boone, and Ogle Counties:
June 11, 2018
Call to Families on Homebased who use Self-Directed Assistance (SDA).  

The Division of Developmental Disabilities has made significant changes to the services formally known as service facilitation. With the updated Adult Services Waiver and the implemenation of conflict-free case management, service facilitation officially went away and in its place came self-directed assistance (SDA). The Arc of Illinois is very concerned that the Division has a very narrow view of what an SDA's role can be for families. Previously SDAs in the agreement with families could manage the PSW, the budget and fill out forms and navigate systems for and with families. It appears that the Division might be suggesting that SDAs can primarily assist and train families to do these things themselves only. The Arc is advocating so that families can have SDAs keep doing much of what they were previously doing but we NEED YOUR HELP.

If you are an individual or family who uses the SDA beyond just for training and assisting you to explain how you can do things, please email Meg at and share 1) what the SDA does for you; 2) how important the SDA is to you. We will be sharing this information with the Division.

Here is a SDA Recorded Webinar, powerpoint and FAQ shared previously. Please note - the FAQ is in the process of being updated to respond to issues that the Arc has raised among others.

Ligas Consent Decree Judge find the state is not doing enough
Yesterday, Judge Coleman in the Ligas Consent Decree found that the state is “not in compliance with the Consent Decree by failing to provide the resources of sufficient quality, scope and variety.” Here is the judge's statement.

The state submitted a proposal that included a $0.38 wage increase for direct support professionals (DSPs), a program to train individuals receiving TANF (temporary assistance to needy families) to be DSPs, increases in quality monitoring and additional program improvements and enhancements.

The Judge indicated that based on this proposal the Court "sees no end to the Court's oversight". She recommends the state convene a work group to look at wages and rate methodology as well as quality monitoring tool. Finally she recommends the parties come together to agree on a process for people to move faster off the waiting list and define a reasonable pace.

The judge remains clear that she "lacks the expertise and the budgetary authority to impose measures to resolve the issues here and calls on the parties to continue to develop a plan to bring the state into compliance.

Parties will return to Court on July 10, 2018 to discuss the Order.

Good news from this: The judge agrees that the state must do more in order to move the needle on people getting access to quality services and staff in the community. The state continues to be under pressure of the consent decree to make change and hopefully investment in community living.

Challenge remains: The Judge insists she can only do so much because she lacks the expertise and the ability to require additional state fundings. So we still have to work to getting the state fully on board with increasing funding and investing in monitoring. It will continue to require advocacy to decrease the PUNS waiting list for home and community based services.

More shake ups at the State
Tim Mapes, Michael Madigan's chief of staff, stepped down due to new misconduct allegations. This is a big change as Mapes is also the clerk of the House, running the House's day to day operations and pushing Speaker Madigan's agenda.

Administrator Norwood Resigns from Healthcare and Family Services to take Private Sector Job
Anthem Names Felicia Norwood President, Government Business. Anthem, Inc. announced on June 4, 2018, that Felicia Norwood has been named president of the company’s government business division, effective June 18, 2018, responsible for Medicaid, Medicare and Federal Government Solutions lines. Norwood was most recently director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. She also served a stint as head of Aetna’s Active Health Management subsidiary.

Meg Cooch
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)

August 11, 2016

The Arc is pleased to announce the return of counseling services.  Matthew Matheny, Home Based Services Facilitator, QIDP, LSW, has begun working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to achieve their goals in areas of life including: anger management and relational issues.  The focus in bringing counseling to The Arc is not in diagnosing individuals with mental disorders or providing treatment for previously diagnosed disorders, rather to help individuals deal with stressors and guide them through issues in their daily lives.

Matthew graduated from the Masters in Social Work program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2009.  Since graduation, he has specialized in assisting individuals diagnosed with an I/DD.  He is currently working towards his Licensed Clinical Social Worker Certification and practicing under the supervision of Jude Hines, PHD, JD, LCSW.

When asked about the addition of counseling services, Matthew stated, “I look forward to the opportunity to help the consumers The Arc serves.  This work has become my passion and joy since my first encounters with diagnosed individuals.”

Clients generally come in every two weeks for forty-five to fifty minute sessions. Fees for service are based on a sliding scale and/or the Medicaid Waiver program.

If interested, please contact Matthew or Pamela at 815-965-3455.

June 20, 2016
 The Arc has the awesome opportunity to help varying individuals with skills building and entrepreneurialism.  During the summer, those calling The Arc, or stopping in, may get to meet Samantha, our newest intern. Samantha is a quick learner and eager to give assistance where needed.
We've asked Samantha a few questions to get to know her a little better! In addition to the questions asked, she also offered that her favorite purchase is a Minnie Mouse sweatshirt bought from Disney World last November. 
  1. Why did you want to intern at The Arc?


    My dream job is to be a receptionist, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to see if I like being a receptionist or not. 


  2. What do you hope to learn by interning?


    I hope I will learn more social skills, and I also hope I will learn about more typing programs on the computer.


  3. Do you have a favorite genre of music?


    My favorite genre of music is hip-hop.


  4. Who is your favorite musical artist?


    My favorite is Kesha.


  5. Do you like to watch movies?


    Sometimes I like to watch movies, but if I have nothing in my hands to play with, then it is really difficult for me to sit through movies.  It all depends on the type of movie I am watching.


  6. What is your favorite movie?


    My favorite is called The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks.


  7. What do you like to do in your spare time?


    I like to listen to music and I also like to play with my favorite Barbie doll.


  8. Tell us something about yourself that most people do not know?


    My favorite restaurant is Lucha Cantina and I like their chicken and spinach enchiladas.


  9. Are you a morning person?


    Yes, I am a morning person.


  10. What is your favorite beverage?


    My favorite is Diet Coke.

  11. Do you volunteer anywhere else?

Last summer I volunteered at a Walter Lawson's Children's home in their laundry department. Now, since I am interning, I do not volunteer there anymore.

    12. When do you graduate?
I have already graduated from high school in May of 2015.  The school I go to allows me to stay until I am 22 years old. So, I have a couple more years to go.
June 7, 2016
David Gray joined The Arc about three months ago as a Home Based Service Facilitator.  We, in the office, have had the privilege of getting to know David; however, some may not have had the same fortune.  Therefore, we thought it appropriate to introduce this valuable part of The Arc's team.
David was a good sport and answered the following ten questions:
1. Are you from the Rockford Area? If not, what brought you to Rockford?


I am originally from the farm country in the Quad Cities area. I came to Rockford in 2007 to attend Rockford College. I came because the campus was in the heart of the city, but still felt like I was in the country. The campus is off the main roads, but tucked away in a forest where I can run and bike.
2. Describe your favorite vacation.

When I was in high school, I got an opportunity to spend three days in Honolulu Hawaii and seven days in Gold Coast Australia. I spent time climbing Diamond Head, visiting Pearl Harbor, attending a Luau and enjoying the beach in Hawaii. While in Australia, I had the privilege of visiting the beach, zoo, amazing restaurants and running two races for the United States of America/ Illinois. I helped Team Illinois win Gold in the American Games in Australia.

3.  What do you do in your spare time? 
During my free time I like to country line dance, ride my road bike and run. I also like helping and encouraging the youth by coaching cross country and track. I enjoy being a part of Heartland Church, Delta and the other programs they offer.

4. Plane, train, or automobile?


I would like to ride an old fashion someday in the mountains, as I enjoy cruising around in the country and seeing what God has created.



5. What excites you about working with The Arc?


Working at The Arc with the awesome staff that keeps this place running excites me. We have different backgrounds and fit well together as a team. I am excited to learn from all the staff, to push myself to new levels.



6. Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?


I am not sure if this is a hidden talent.   I can country line dance and pick up on new dances pretty fast.


7. What song are you listening to right now? Do you have a favorite genre of music?


T-shirt by Thomas Rhett . I am a big Country and Christian music fan.



8. If you had to choose one sporting event to attend, what would it be?


I would like to attend La Tour De France someday. I get a little nerdy when the Tour is on TV and tend to log lots of miles on my bike during the Tour.



9. When you wake up in the morning, what is at the forefront of your mind to accomplish?


In the morning, my mind first thinks about a time to walk, run or bike during the day.



10. What is your go-to comfort food?


My comfort food would have to be ice cream but prefer if was from Whitey’s Ice Cream.
Thank you, David, for helping us get to know you! 
May 10, 2016

Pathways to Justice™ Grants Awarded for 2016-2017

The Arc of Spokane Disability Response Team

Darci Ladwig, Stacy Ceder, Megan Williams, and Brian Holloway work collaboratively to lend support to The Arc of Spokane’s Disability Response Team.

This month, six chapters of The Arc each received a $2,000 Pathways to Justice™ grant from The Arc of the U.S.  Funded by DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, The Pathways to Justice program was initiated in 2013 by The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability® (NCCJD) with the goal of developing strong and lasting relationships between criminal justice professionals and the disability community.  These partnerships then work together to close gaps in services experienced by people with disabilities and their families at all stages in the criminal justice system. This year’s recipients are The Arc of New Mexico; The Arc of Texas; Berkshire County Arc (MA); The Arc of Loudoun County (VA); The Arc of Ventura County (CA); and The Arc of Winnebago, Boone and Ogle Counties (IL).

The Pathways to Justice training focuses on three target audiences: law enforcement, victim service providers, and attorneys. Using evidenced-based models and promising practices from the mental illness and victim advocacy fields (such as establishing a Disability Response Team), the program raises participant awareness of intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and urges communities to find solutions together.  Upon completion of the one-day training, criminal justice and disability professionals, people with disabilities and others work together to begin creating site-specific, holistic solutions to challenges their community faces when their citizens with disabilities enter the criminal justice system as either victims or defendants/suspects/offenders.  >>>Read More 

April 4, 2016
Occasionally, we will be highlighting different people who work at The Arc of Winnebago, Boone and Ogle Counties for you to get to know them a little better.  Our hope is you'll gain more of an understanding of who to go to for questions, concerns, and needs.  We have a unique set of personalities that make up the team here at The Arc. Just as you have dreams and visions and basic needs, so do our staff members. 
This week we are getting to know Pat Kline, Guardianship Coordinator and Money Management.  Pat has been with The Arc for about twenty years.  She is a terrific resource for navigating various agencies in our community and has a wealth of knowledge.  She has helped hundreds of families with guardianship needs at a fraction of the cost of what an attorney would ordinarily charge.  Because of Pat's dedication to working with individuals on a budget and acting as a Representative Payee, the consumers in the Money Management program live a more fulfilling life with a little bit of extra cash for the fun things they desire to do.
We asked Pat a few questions in order to learn a bit more about her.
  1. What gets you up in the morning?   

    Sunlight!  Or the alarm on yucky days.

  2. Why do you do what you do?   

    It’s a chance to make a difference in someone’s life.

  3. What are your goals for Guardianships/Money Management?

    To insure that the people I work with have security and safety in their lives.

  4. What is one thing you wish you could change in the world? 

    Bullying and violence.

  5. Do you have any pets? 

    Of course!  My two BT’s and my feathered friend.

  6. Where is your favorite vacation spot? 

    Anywhere we park the RV.

  7. Do you have any hobbies? 

    Cross stitch and cooking/baking.

  8. What is your favorite genre of music? 

    Smooth jazz and R&B

  9. What would you like people to know about you? 

    I probably take my job too seriously. 

  10. Pie or Cake?   


 Thank you, Pat, for sharing so many interesting tidbits about youself!
March 29, 2016

Did you know The Arc of Winnebago, Boone and Ogle Counties started two book clubs last year? We follow a platform developed by the Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) NCBC out of The Ohio State University Nisonger Center and are an affiliate of NCBC.

Established in 2002, the NCBC has grown to nearly 300 clubs nationwide and internationally. The mission of NCBC is to “provide meaningful opportunities for lifelong learning, social connections, and authentic community engagement for people with developmental disabilities through weekly book club meetings that include people with all reading levels.”

At the core, our NCBC clubs promote community inclusion. We want our members to enjoy reading a good book, drinking a great beverage, and socializing with each other at a local coffee shop or café.  It’s also an opportunity to develop a love of reading and friendships with individuals who may have similar interests.  Oftentimes, individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability feel secluded and unaccepted. Our book clubs are accepting regardless of reading ability.  Plus, other patrons see us reading together and come over to see what we’re doing.

We’ve tried to make the schedule easy to remember. We have an afternoon club at 2:30 pm and an evening club at 6:30 pm. Both clubs meet the second and fourth Mondays of the month at a local coffee shop.

Thus far, we’ve read Lucky Dogs, Lost Hats, and Dating Don’ts, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Currently, we are reading Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (winner of the Newbery Medal), and Hoops.

New members are welcome; we do ask that you call the office at 815-965-3455 to register.

In 2014, the NCBC was featured in a news story in Ohio. You can click here to view the video.

February 28, 2013
As life gets busier around here, we like to be able to connect with you - the community - as much as we can! Along with our blog, we have also launched a twitter account!
Follow us at @arcWBO or here is the direct link to our page:
Thank you again for the support! Looking forward to connecting with you!

February 27, 2013

Hello all! This is the first blog post by The Arc and we are super excited to have a new way to connect to our supporters in the community! Hopefully, this blog will be great way for you to catch up on what The Arc is up to!  We will also be posting helpful information about advocacy and legislation - which all comes back to our main goal - supporting people with developmental and intellectual disabilities!


We are coming out of an exciting time; with the Chocoholic Frolic taking place last Thursday! If you were one of the lucky 800 people to attend our 6thannual Chocoholic Frolic, we hope you had a great time! Make sure to let us know how you liked it by commenting on this page or going to our Facebook page! For those of you that didn't get to attend this year, make sure you make it next year! Chocolate, wine, cheese, and good people? Who could ask for more?


Thanks for stopping by and make sure to come back soon to get the latest updates from The Arc!


Drive carefully out there!

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