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WJBD - Local News - Department of Human Services Says First Resident Moved Out of Murray Center Friday

Department of Human Services Says First Resident Moved Out of Murray Center Friday

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The Illinois Department of Human Services has announced they moved the first resident out of the Warren Murray Developmental Center in Centralia on Friday to a group home.  

While Governor Pat Quinn says the move will improve life for people with disabilities, State Representative John Cavaletto and Charlie Meier had a different story to tell fellow house members.  

Meier said he is outraged.  "The Governor says community homes are better for our patients, but he's ignoring the fact that most of the patients at Murray Center were told they were too developmentally disabled to live in a community home.  They have been bounced to different CILA's many times in the past, never working for them. The Governor and his administration have completely ignored  the wishes of the parents and guardians who are responsible for the Murray Center residents," Meier told colleagues. "The Governor is putting the lives of every resident at Murray Center at risk. When, not if, but when, those patients start dying or their family members from distress start dying.  This responsibility falls on the Governor and his staff."

Cavaletto is equally unhappy.  "I've been affiliated with that center for over 40 years.  It is a sad day for me and my district that 259 residents will be leaving and 528 staff will be losing their jobs," said Cavaletto.

The Department of Human Services says the first individual transitioning out of the Murray Center moved to a Community Integrated Living Arrangement located in East Central Illinois.  

The Illinois Director of Developmental Disabilities says they do not place individuals in settings until they are properly equipped to handle their specialized needs and have gone through required training.  Kevin Casey reports they are working closely with families and guardians using a person-centered planning process to ensure safe transitions for residents of Murray Center.  

The Secretary of Human Services Michelle Saddler says for far too long Illinois has relied on an outdated system of care for people with developmental disabilities and Governor Quinn's administration is making significant progress in rebalancing the system.  

State officials say numerous studies show that individuals living in the community have a better quality of live than those living in large institutions.  They also note the cost savings.  While the average cost for a resident to be at Murray Center is $239,000 per year, the estimated cost of a resident living in the community is $120,000.  

The Murray Parents have filed a federal lawsuit pending to stop the closure.  The parents are also seeking a preliminary injunction to keep the state from closing Murray Center while the court case is still pending.  

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