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Advocates Want To Close Illinois Facilities For Disabled

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  A group of people with disabilities came to Springfield Wednesday to call for Illinois to close most of its institutions for the developmentally disabled.  Advocates say closing six of the seven facilities would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year. 

But some people with disabilities may require the round-the-clock care that's given in the institutions. Barbara Pritchard of the Community for All Coalition says Illinois is far behind other states in offering community living options. 

Advocates say the state spends about $429 million to care for those in state institutions. But that cost would be significantly less if more of the residents were moved to live in the community. And Pritchard says the quality of life is better outside of the facilities.

"All Illinoisans deserve a life where they can grow, prosper and be part of their community," she says.  

Illinois currently has about 1600 people living in institutions. But some advocates say people with severe physical or emotional disabilities need to stay in institutions to get the best care.