(The Center Square) – Illinois lawmakers are coming together to call for an audit into ongoing issues at group homes for those with disabilities.
A Community Integrated Living Arrangement, or CILA, is a group home where eight or fewer unrelated adults with developmental disabilities live under the supervision of the community developmental services agency.
State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, has previously shared examples of problems at some of these facilities.
"You have heard from the first responders about the incidents of rape, sexual abuse, the neglect of residents, and even starvations that we can document in the state of Illinois that have taken place in CILAs," Meier said.
Meier's House Bill 1298 would require the Department of Human Services to establish a system of sight inspections at the facilities.
On Tuesday, the Legislative Audit Commission approved a resolution to trigger an Auditor General Performance Audit.
State Rep. Randy Frese, R-Quincy, said the facility's shoddy performance had led lawmakers to seek answers.
"We all understand that there is a need for us to be looking closer into this, and I am looking forward to hearing the report that comes from it," Frese said.
The issue has been a bipartisan one in Springfield. State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said doing nothing is a misuse of their power.
"They [the state] just got notice there is a problem," Ford told The Center Square. "To ignore it and to do nothing, I think, is a dereliction of duty on our part."
Ford said the state cannot make mistakes on this issue.
"The state should meet and set up some form of a task force to look at these facilities and make sure that we do not piecemeal this process, but we work to make sure that we have a holistic type of change to the safety measures at these institutions," Ford said.
Meier had said he's worked on getting the state to address these issues for years.
"If you look back and read anything I have put out over the last 11 years, you will see that I have fought for 11 years for this," Meier said. "Often, people will not listen. I have fought with [Department of Human Services], I have fought with Republican governors and Democrat governors. I am not just starting this today."
There wasn't an immediate timetable offered for when the audit will be started and finished before the findings are released. However, on March 15, 2017, the house adopted a similar resolution calling for an audit of CILA homes. That report was released in July 2018.