Governor Pat Quinn today issued an executive order to strengthen protections for adults who have disabilities. The Governor's action today will ensure that potential cases of abuse and neglect of adults with disabilities who live in domestic settings will be investigated and referred to the appropriate authorities.
"In Illinois we believe that every life deserves respect and dignity," Governor Quinn said. "My action today will strengthen the protection of adults with disabilities and ensure the necessary steps are taken if abuse or neglect takes place."
Under Governor Quinn's executive order, the state will strengthen protections for adults with disabilities who are suspected victims of abuse and neglect. The order will ensure referrals to the appropriate authorities are made and follow-up occurs after any death of an adult with disabilities who is the subject of a pending complaint investigation by the Department of Human Services' (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), regardless of the circumstances.
Starting immediately, such cases will be reported, in writing, to local law enforcement and local coroners or medical examiners, and referrals will be documented. The OIG will follow-up on the cases to determine and document what actions have been taken and what determinations have been made by the law enforcement agency. In the past, the Office of the Inspector General referred many of these cases to local law enforcement and/or the medical examiner/coroner. In some cases, contact was made but not documented by OIG staff or the receiving entity, which is unacceptable. The OIG has also swiftly taken steps to strengthen policies and procedures to ensure referrals/notifications are properly documented.
The EO also calls for a review of all deaths of an adult with disabilities who was the subject of a pending investigation by the OIG since 2003. In such cases where documented referrals were made to law enforcement agencies, the OIG will follow up on the outcome. For all other cases, the OIG will undertake a detailed review of each file to determine whether further DHS OIG action or referral is required.
In the future, all cases, regardless of allegations, will be referred to local law enforcement.
"We recognize the deficiencies within the program and are committed to improving it," said DHS Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler. "We support the Governor's swift action, and we will work with the OIG to immediately implement the reforms outlined in his Executive Order."