Building a stronger voice for Iowans with disabilities...
What Are Centers for Independent Living?
Iowa currently has six centers for independent living (CILs). CILs are independent, consumer-driven, cross-disability, community-based nonprofit organizations committed to Independent Living principles. They are not residential facilities—CILs actually work to eliminate the institutional and facility bias in long term supports for people with disabilities. CILs are unique in that people with disabilities must comprise over half of their governing boards and over half of the CIL staff. The federal government certifies centers in compliance with the Independent Living principles and standards in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which makes them eligible for federal funding (though federal funding is currently insufficient to adequately fund all eligible centers). Federal standards require CILs to be responsive to their local communities, to provide their services to anyone regardless of their disability type, to work with consumers to achieve their goals, and to manage their resources in compliance with the Rehab Act.
All centers must provide the five “core” services: information and referral, peer support, independent living skills development, individual and systems advocacy, and transition services. Transition services has three components: 1. To assist people in institutions to move back into the community; 2. To assist people at high risk of entering an institution to prevent institutionalization; and 3. To transition youth with disabilities from high school into post secondary education, training, and/or competitive integrated employment. The mandate for systems advocacy requires that centers engage in grassroots efforts to change the systems that affect the lives of people with disabilities. Examples include working with local partners in the educational and workforce systems to improve supports for young people entering the world of work, encouraging local businesses to remove physical barriers, or promoting the availability of sign language interpreters in the local hospital. At the State level, CILs work to promote compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead decision, which stated that people with disabilities who need long term care are entitled to receive it in the least restrictive environment consistent with their needs.
Some federal funding under the Rehab Act flows directly to CILs. Other federal funding, commonly known as Part B, can be distributed for independent living services if States set up a SILC that meets the requirements of the Act. The SILC is required, under the Rehab Act, to collaborate with the CILs, Consumers, and other disability partners in the development of a three-year State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). The SPIL identifies the needs for independent living (IL) services, and specifies how resources for IL, including Part B monies, should be allocated. SILCs are also to find ways to support and strengthen the State’s network of IL services, and to take steps to enhance coordination in their delivery.
Centers for Independent Living in Iowa
Access 2 Independence
of the Eastern Iowa Corridor
Center for Independent Living
Iowa City, Iowa
Leah Zapf Donald, Executive Director, A2I, Iowa City
Iowa City Office
1556 S. 1st Ave. Suite B, Iowa City, IA 52240
Office: 319-338-3870 or Toll-Free 1-866-338-4544
TTY: Currently not available.
Fax: 319-338-3870 (Call to notify when sending fax)