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State Panel Votes to Close Jacksonville Facility

Rich Egger

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is free to shut down the Jacksonville Developmental Center. A state board gave its approval on Tuesday, October 30.

Quinn's Department of Human Services issued a statement saying it's pleased  because the decision "…will help to improve the quality of life of people with developmental disabilities."

The governor wants to move JDC residents into smaller, group homes.  Some advocates agree that's best.

But Representative Jim Watson (R-Jacksonville) said he's troubled the administration wants to take away a housing option that many parents of JDC residents believe is best for their children.

Watson says he tried to make that argument to the Health Facilities Review Board.

“Look, if I were to look at any one of you and tell you - the panel - that I know what's best for your son or your daughter - I've never met them - but I know what' s best for them. You know the arrogance of that attitude.  It's just  ... at its very essence we should be about options.  This nation, this state, should take care of individuals and give them options, especially those with these types of disabilities,” Watson said. 

But the panel voted six to one in favor of closing the Jacksonville facility.

Residents continue to be moved out of the center.  It's set to close November 21.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio

Rich is TSPR's News Director.