In February, the Chicago Tribune published an expose on Illinois’ troubled group homes for disabled adults and their failure to reduce abuse and neglect rates. In fact, the Tribune’s research found that, despite promises of reform, allegations of abuse and neglect reached a new high in 2017 of more than 3600 cases, according to Illinois’ Auditor General. Think about that: 3600 vulnerable, disabled adults suffering from abuse or neglect in group homes that we, the taxpayers, are paying for. It is unconscionable.
The Illinois Department of Human Services, which oversees the state’s group homes, does not dispute the findings of the Auditor General but says new reforms are planned which will address some of the issues. “For the first time, group homes will be ranked in a web-based scorecard, which includes inspection results and links to online copies of investigative findings involving abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.”1 The state has also hired more investigators and plans to implement a system where families of group home residents automatically receive a copy of state investigations. We hope that, this time, they follow through on these proposed reforms, but why has it taken so long?