Advocate group calls for closure of Murray Center and other state-run facilities

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Advocates of group homes for the disabled are calling for the closing of nearly all state-run institutions as part of plan they say would save Illinois $337 million a year.

Hundreds of advocates for the disabled rallied at the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday. Their plan calls on Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers to close six of the remaining seven institutions and transition those people into group homes.

The Republican governor said during his campaign that he supported keeping the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia open. Former Gov. Pat Quinn called for closing all state-run institutions.

Proponents of group homes say Illinois has an “antiquated” and costly system for meeting the needs of the disabled. Opponents argue that some of the disabled need the level of services provided at an institution.

The group’s call comes as the Centralia facility has posted over 40 job openings. Some of the positions posted include psychologists, behavioral analysts, Director of Nursing, RNs, grounds crew, dietary manager, dentist, physician, health information specialist, residential service supervisor and technicians.