Experts say structure is key for children with intellectual disabilities. One Rockford area not-for-profit gives that word a whole new meaning. Not only is the organization providing routine for kids, but also giving them an actual home to call their own.
"We've just been really fortunate in that the community has just been really accepting and supportive of us and the people who we serve. We have homes in Machesney Park, Rockford, Loves Park, Cherry Valley, South Beloit, Roscoe so we're kind of spread out throughout the Winnebago County area." -says Goldie B. Floberg Center President & CEO John Pingo.
Four boys ages 13 to 18, all with intellectual disabilities and two with autism, just moved in to the center's seventh children's group home. Seven staff members take shifts watching the kids. This new home is in Machesney Park. Three of the boys were at the center's Rockton facility, the other at another home. The center's new mission is to group kids together that are similar-aged, so they can grow up with the same surroundings even through adulthood. Agency administrators say this new permanent structure makes for a bright future.
"People who may have struggled with behavioral difficulties, we often see those behavioral difficulties decrease significantly and I think that's in large part because they're just part of a community, they have their own space." -Pingo explains.
Families with special needs children become a part of the center through the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities. That same state department provides funding for the agency. The group home project receives an even bigger contribution.
"The congregate care facility in Rockton is actually funded solely through general revenue funds, there's no federal government match because it's not community integrated. So, you move to a community integrated setting like our small group homes and then you're able to gain that federal Medicaid matching fund." -Pingo adds.
For more information on how to qualify for agencies like the Goldie B. Floberg center, check out Access Services.
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