Service Utilization and the Individual, Family, and Neighborhood Characteristics of Children with Disabilities in Illinois

09/01/1996

This report describes the demographic characteristics and human services utilization of all children and adolescents who are identified as having a disability in Illinois. It also seeks to understand the stability of care that these children receive through childhood and adolescence. The database used for the study, the Integrated Database on Children's Services in Illinois (DB), was developed from Statewide service data which came from a set of agencies including the Department of Public Aid, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. The study focuses on those children identified as having a disability from July 1, 1989 through June 30, 1994. The report finds that the population of children served by public programs for disabilities in Illinois grew and changed dramatically between Fiscal Year (FY) 1990 and FY 1994: the Supreme Court's Zebley decision allowed more children with emotional disorders to receive services and the Medicaid program expanded to address the needs of children with extreme emotional disturbances; (2) the new population of children receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is slow to use additional services; (3) the population of children receiving special education services is dropping as mainstreaming disabled children into regular classrooms becomes more prevalent; and (4) children with less severe conditions, such as language disorders or learning disabilities, are less likely to participate in multiple programs than children with more severe or chronic disabilities, like severe emotional disturbance. The report concludes this study could be used as a baseline against which to measure changes occurring as a result of 1996 changes to SSI eligibility criteria and future changes in Medicaid and welfare programs. It notes that a possible addition to the analysis would examine new early intervention programs. [86 PDF pages]

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