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Little City Foundation Battles for Rights of Individuals with Disabilities in Springfield and Meets with Legislators Day Before Governor's Budget Address

As Governor Pat Quinn prepared to address Illinois with his ideas on how to reform the state budget, Little City Foundation last week spoke to numerous legislators, state agency representatives and advocates to ensure appropriated funds and the rights of individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities were protected

PALATINE, Ill., March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 30 state legislators, advocates and key state leaders met with Little City Foundation on Tuesday, March 9, at the Sangamo Club in Springfield to learn about the needs of Little City and the hundreds of families it serves throughout the Chicago area.


"We want to make sure the state doesn't balance the budget on the backs of people with disabilities," commented Executive Director Shawn Jeffers.  "We fully support budget reform throughout the state but when your state is 51st in the nation for residential funding for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and is ranked 40th for overall support for this population, we gain very little as a state community when we make additional cuts to this already embarrassingly poorly funded area."

Little City's legislative requests include (but are not limited to):

  1. Release of approved funding already appropriated for Little City from the Capital Plan for its Health & Wellness Center (specialized medical and dental care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities): $80,000 appropriated for the removal of asbestos and rehab of the Medical Center.
  2. Release of approved funding already appropriated for Little City from the Capital Plan for its Social Business Enterprise (document destruction equipment for Little City's vocational programs, which employs hundreds of individuals with disabilities): $150,000 for purchase and installation of new document destruction equipment.
  3. Approval of a "fair wage" for direct care staff throughout Illinois.
  4. Protection of the current funding for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  
  5. Diligence and careful assessment of the proposed managed care system for individuals with disabilities.

Little City Foundation also provided state representatives with staggering statistics of Illinois' most vulnerable citizens.  

"Little City isn't looking for a 'handout;' we constantly strive to create vocational opportunities and partnerships with local businesses employing individuals with disabilities with a 'hand up' who want to contribute to the community," commented Little City Board President Fred Lebed.  "During this historic state crisis, it's critical that we work together to determine how to stimulate our economy, increase revenue and think strategically when we cut, to ensure that we are protecting the future of our State."

More than 30 state legislators and state agency representatives attended Little City's advocacy event in Springfield including State Senator Kirk Dillard (back, left) and State Rep. Suzie Bassi (back, center).  Little City representatives (left to right) Joe Dus, Ed Hockfield, Fred Lebed, Shawn Jeffers and Lisa Reyes advocate above.

To help champion for individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, donate at or learn more and sign up for news at

For additional information, contact Lisa Reyes at or at 847-221-7825.

About Little City Foundation

For more than 50 years, Little City Foundation has developed innovative and personalized programs to fully assist and empower children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Little City offers a variety of residential options for children and adults, as well as vocational and employment opportunities.  Programs and services include a special needs foster care and adoption program; in-home support to families raising a child with developmental disabilities; a full complement of recreational activities, including Special Olympics competition; a Resale Shop that provides employment for people with disabilities; and an award-winning Center for the Arts program that features visual, performance, media and fabric arts.  The organization has a 56-acre campus in Palatine and offices in Chicago.  Visit

Little City by the Numbers

  • Eighty percent of children in Little City's ChildBridge Residential Program have pervasive developmental disabilities, including Autism, Asperger Syndrome and other pervasive diagnoses on the Autism spectrum.
  • Little City supports more than 350 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Chicago and its surrounding communities.
  • Little City's Center for the Arts owns more than 50 awards for its innovative programs.
  • Little City provides 24x7 care for 175 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Little City provides 24x7 care for 50 children with intellectual and developmental disabilities at its 56-acre Palatine campus through its ChildBridge Residential Program.
  • Little City offers first-class foster care and adoption placement services for 120 children who are born with intellectual and developmental disabilities through its ChildBridge Community Services program in Chicago.
  • Little City owns and operates 16 community-based, group homes to provide more than 100 of Illinois' most vulnerable citizens with a true neighborhood living environment.
  • Little City must raise an average of $10,000*/ individual/year to maintain a quality of life established for each child and adult at Little City.  Beyond the state required minimal standard of care, Little City's quality of life standard encompasses programs and services that foster a life of health, recreation, education and culture that protect one's rights, beliefs, choices and aspirations.   

*The shortfall is due primarily to less than full reimbursement from the State of Illinois for services rendered, but also due to Little City's commitment to a quality of life.

Other Statistics


  • Though Illinois is ranked the 5th wealthiest state in the nation(1), it ranks 40th in fiscal effort for services for individuals with disabilities in all programs (including home based, group home, and congregate care).(2)  
  • Illinois ranks LAST or 51st in the nation (after the District of Columbia) when it comes to funding for community residential developmental disabilities services (environments of six or less).
    • The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities, Seventh Edition (Braddock, Hemp, & Rizzolo, 2008).
  • One out of 63 births in Illinois is an infant with a developmental disability.
    • Braddock and Heller at University of Illinois, 2009.
  • There are 220,000 infants, children & adults with developmental disabilities in Illinois.
    • Braddock and Heller at University of Illinois, 2009.
  • There are approximately 18,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities on the PUNS (Priority of Urgency of Need of Services) waiting list in need of services from agencies like Little City Foundation.
    • Prioritization of Unmet Need for Services Survey, Illinois Division of Developmental Disabilities.


  • 1 percent of the population or 1 out of 100 of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder.(1)
    • Pediatrics, October 5, 2009, based on a National Children's Health Survey done with 78,000 parents in 2007.(1)
  • Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability; 1,148% growth rate.(2)
    • Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Changes in the California Caseload, An Update June 1987-June 2007." Cavagnaro, Andre T., California Health and Human Services Agency. State of California 2003 survey of developmental disabilities.(2)

SOURCE Little City Foundation

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SOURCE Little City Foundation
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