Closure of Jacksonville Developmental Center

A few days ago, Access Living’s Director of Advocacy, Amber Smock, sent a message to the community. In the message, she urged individuals to contact the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. The commission on Wednesday is hosting a public hearing on the closure of the Jacksonville Developmental Center.

Amber wrote,

“The fight to close Jacksonville Developmental Center is such an important struggle to move Illinois into the future of long term care. We have traveled a long, long way from the days of the old Dixon State School and Bobby Kennedy saying that state institutions were not fit for human beings. But we still face the challenges of a system that costs so much that it excludes thousands of people with developmental disabilities from any hope of getting the community supports that they need. In addition to such places being playgrounds for institutional abuse and neglect, we have to ask whether our system is fair for everyone. And, you must also ask yourself, “would I ever live in such a place?” Imagine living in a college dorm for the rest of your life with people telling you everything that you can or cannot do. Is that what you’d want? Help us fight to empower people with developmental disabilities with community choices that matter to them and their families.”

Amber and Access Living asks everyone to contact the commission. The commission needs to hear from the community why it is important for Illinois to transition from institutional to community support for people with disabilities. The commission will accept written and oral testimony. Requests to present oral testimony at the hearing or to send in written testimony should be sent to: Amber plans to attend the hearing in person and will present testimony.

In addition to submitting testimony, community members can directly contact members of the commission.

Here is information for the commission chairs:

Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg, Co-Chair,, 217-782-2119 or 847-492-1200.

Representative Patricia Bellock, Co-Chair,, 217-782-1448 or 630-852-8633

Thank you for your support


  1. Jenny Lynn Response to video: This is an awesome video but it too made me cry. I care deeply for the individual's who will lose the only "Home" they know. A home is not the dwelling you reside in but where your heart is. These individuals chose JDC for where their heart is and it's their home. It's where they know when they are having a bad day they can speak/sit by the staff, "that they consider their family & friends" that they know. One individual told me on Friday that he is going to miss me and noticed I was losing weight, and he said he needed to as well and what's my secret to do so. I told him he can too lose weight just has to watch his portions and what he eats. Not only are we supporting to keep their "heart" where it belongs but also fighting for the objects in which make their home valuable to them be able to go with them if they shall move. We (staff) at JDC have been lying awake at night saying prayers for these people who are citizens of the United States of America, and deserve better than an eviction notice. They are not just 'clients" they are our friends and they will be cherished always in our hearts as people who have made a profound impact on
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