This article was produced for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in partnership with Capitol News Illinois

In Crisis, She Went to an Illinois Facility. Two Years Later, She Still Isn’t Able to Leave.

The state of Illinois is asking for the end of court oversight of its system of care for people with developmental disabilities. But some advocates say it’s too soon.

Kaleigh Rogers was in crisis when she checked into a state-run institution on Illinois’ northern border two years ago. Rogers, who has cerebral palsy, had a mental health breakdown during the pandemic and was acting aggressively toward herself and others.

Before COVID-19, she had been living in a small group home; she had been taking college classes online and enjoyed going out with friends, volunteering and going to church. But when her aggression escalated, she needed more medical help than her community setting could provide.

With few viable options for intervention, she moved into Kiley Developmental Center in Waukegan, a much larger facility. There, she says she has fewer freedoms and almost nothing to do, and was placed in a unit with six other residents, all of whom are unable to speak. Although the stay was meant to be short term, she’s been there for two years.

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