Public Accountability Report Public Accountability Report

Guardianship and Advocacy Commission
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
  FY 2021 FY 2020
Reporting Programs Expenditures Headcount Expenditures Headcount
Office of State Guardian $ 9,032.6 77.0 $ 8,168.5 78.0
Legal Advocacy Service $ 2,103.5 18.0 $ 1,902.3 18.0
Human Rights Authority $ 1,237.3 13.0 $ 1,119.0 11.0
General Cross-Divisional Projects $ 0.0 0.0 $ 0.0 0.0
Totals $ 12,373.4 108.0 $ 11,189.8 107.0

Amounts may not sum to total due to rounding.

Agency Narrative

The mission of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission is to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities by providing public guardianship services, legal representation, and a process to investigate alleged disability rights violations. The Commission's enabling legislation is the Guardianship and Advocacy Act of 1979 (20 ILCS 3955/1 et seq.). The Commission is governed by 11 commissioners appointed by the Governor for three-year terms of office. Each commissioner provides specific expertise consistent with the Commission's mission to serve persons with disabilities.

The Commission fulfills its mission through three primary programs: the Human Rights Authority (HRA), which, through nine regional panels of citizen volunteers, investigates alleged rights violations committed against persons with disabilities by disability services providers; the Legal Advocacy Service (LAS), which provides legal advice and representation to individuals with disabilities; and the Office of State Guardian (OSG), which serves as the court-appointed guardian of last resort for adults with disabilities.

HRA measures focus on the program's ability to negotiate improved disability rights protections with service providers when rights violations are investigated, substantiated, and corrected. Substantiated rights violations result in recommendations that focus on systemic changes to a provider's policies, procedures, and/or practices that benefit both current and future service consumers. In fiscal year 2021, 93% of recommendations issued were accepted and implemented by disability service providers investigated. Implemented recommendations impacted 77,859 persons with disabilities at an average cost of $16.00 per person.

LAS program measures exemplify a high level of service provision at an extremely efficient cost. In fiscal year 2021, 7,221 clients were served at an average cost of $291.00 per client, and 9,689 cases were handled at an average cost of $217.00 per case. When compared to private sector legal rates, the LAS budget represents 29% of private sector costs for the same amount of legal hours. LAS outcome measures focus on the program's ability to advance mental health case law when cases of sufficient merit reach a higher court; in fiscal year 2021, nine cases were referred to a higher court. The LAS also assists individuals with mental health advance directives as a means to self-direct future service provision; the LAS assisted with 590 requests for mental health treatment declarations in fiscal year 2021.

The OSG served as guardian for 5,110 persons with disabilities in fiscal year 2021. Alternative guardianship sources are sought, when possible, and were found in 53% of referrals in fiscal year 2021. When appropriate, the OSG seeks community living options for its wards, with 47% residing in the community during fiscal year 2021. The average OSG caseload remains high at 122 per caseworker. In fiscal year 2021, the highest regional caseload was 167. OSG output measures demonstrate the numerous case management activities completed on behalf of OSG wards. The average cost of individuals served under the OSG and its intake function was $1,584.00 per person in fiscal year 2021.

General Cross-Divisional Projects provide for internal staff development, enhance public awareness of the Commission's services, and target OSG wards who may be eligible for rights restorations. In fiscal year 2021, 335 trainings were provided internally to program staff, 840 outreach activities occurred, 25,000 persons were identified as potential Commission clients, and 32 OSG wards were identified as possible referrals for rights restorations.


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