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Event Information

Rise ‘N’ Learn Webinar: They Deserve More - What's in Store in Illinois

Date: Friday, August 26, 2022

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. (Central)

Professional development workshops are sponsored by a partnership between the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park TownshipRiveredge Hospital, and Streamwood Behavioral Healthcare System.


Overview: Services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are in the midst of a major nationwide crisis – the inability to recruit and retain direct support professionals (DSPs), leading to severe vacancy and turnover rates, program closures, lack of access to services, and worse. In Illinois, the crisis has been compounded by years of underfunding. In spring 2017, provider organizations in Illinois joined forces with statewide associations, people with disabilities, their families, DSPs, and other advocates to form the “They Deserve More” Coalition. In the past five-plus years, “They Deserve More” advocacy has resulted in increased funding to support higher DSP wages and other funding increases. Jim Haptonstahl, outgoing liaison for the coalition, and Lori Opiela, incoming liaison, will present on the campaign’s successes and ongoing efforts, and what’s in store in Illinois in FY23 and beyond.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the primary factors that have contributed to the DSP crisis in Illinois and across the country.
  • Determine methods for mobilizing their constituents and conducting legislative advocacy within their organizations in concert with other community providers.
  • Better understand what the State of Illinois has enacted for IDD services for FY23 and it may have in store in future years.

Presenters: Jim Haptonstahl (Executive Vice President) and Lori Opiela (Senior Policy, Research, and Advocacy Officer) of UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago 

Jim Haptonstahl has worked in support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for the past 45 years. He has overseen UCP Seguin’s development, communications, advocacy, and social enterprise efforts. In 2017, Jim became liaison for the “They Deserve More” Coalition, coordinating statewide efforts among Illinois stakeholders to raise direct support professional (DSP) wages and address other funding needs for the community service system.

Lori Opiela currently serves as the senior policy, research, and advocacy officer at UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago. Lori is also an elected steering committee member of the National Conference of Executives of The Arc. She has dedicated her career to supporting people with disabilities to live full, productive lives in their home communities.

Registration Fee:  $0 

Continuing Education Credits: None available for this event.

Format:  You will receive a link to the Zoom webinar with instructions 24 hours prior to the training. The email will come from or so please be sure to add these email addresses to your safe/white list or check your Junk/Spam folder if you cannot find the email in your inbox. This link includes Zoom registration, which assists with tracking attendance for the training. Once the Zoom registration is complete, you will receive an email from Zoom with a link to enter the session.