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Blue box with black EFE logo in the middle. On the left text reads, efe-email Spring 2021. On the right text reads Equip for Equality.

Equip for Equality hosts and participates in trainings, webinars, meetings, panels, and discussions year round. Here are a few upcoming virtual sessions you may be interested in. Read below to see where our attorneys and trainers will be this summer.

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Upcoming FREE Virtual Trainings, Webinars, & Meetings

Clínica de Educación Especial: Sea un Padre Buen Preparado
21 de julio a las 7:30 de la tarde / Facebook Live
Discutiremos cómo evaluar a su hijo para los servicios de educación especial, qué es un IEP, cómo editar el IEP de su hijo, y lo que puede hacer si no está de acuerdo con el equipo de la escuela. Este entrenamiento es organizada por Latinas United in Love for Autism.
Busque el evento en Facebook Live aquí

Disability Rights Consortium Meeting
July 28 @ 9:30am / Zoom
The next Disability Rights Consortium Meeting will feature Rachel Arfa, Commissioner, Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities. Comissioner Arfa, a former EFE Attorney, will discuss the work at MOPD, its current initiatives and future priorities.
Register Here

Vaccine Requirements & Return to Work Webinar
July 28 @ 5:00pm / Facebook Live
As the state continues to reopen, many employees are faced with questions about vaccine requirements and returning to work safely. This Facebook Live event will talk about your legal rights and leave room for you to ask your own questions.
Look for the Webinar Here

National ADA Symposium
August 2-5 / Virtual
Equip for Equality  attorneys will be presenting at the 2021 National ADA Symposium. Our presentations will review the top ADA Title I, II and III cases of the past year.
Learn More Here

Gov. Pritzker signing a bill into law

Critical Restraint & Seclusion Bill Headed to Governor's Desk

After two years of Equip for Equality working with the bill's sponsors, drafting legislation, and helping reporters educate the public, the Illinois General Assembly passed HB 219, a bill that will dramatically limit the use of seclusion and prone (face down) restraint in schools. Governor Pritzker has been given the bill and has signaled that he will sign it.

We are excited that Illinois passed critical legislation to protect students from the dangers of school restraint and seclusion. We will now shift our focus to making sure the Illinois State Board of Education enforces the critical protections for students.

Read more about the bill in this article from the Chicago Tribune published May 31, 2021: Illinois legislators vote to dramatically limit use of seclusion and face down restraints in schools

Learn About Our Public Policy Efforts

Front of building with sign reading Northern Illinois Academy Entrance

EFE Report Leads to Closure of Troubled Facility

The State of Illinois contracted Equip for Equality to conduct an independent review of Northern Illinois Academy after receiving troubling allegations of improper treatment. EFE's Abuse Investigation Unit and Civil Rights Team engaged in intensive monitoring activities of the 87-bed residential treatment facility and therapeutic day school earlier this year. The resulting 41-page report detailed our strong concerns regarding inadequate and inadequate staffing, overextended staff, insufficient incident reporting (including elopements and suicide attempts), lack of meaningful programming and treatment planning, undocumented and improper restraint and seclusions, and insufficient adherence to COVID-19 health and safety requirements.

In response to our report, the State announced its plans to remove all state-funded youth from Northern Illinois Academy. The Illinois State Board of Education is assigning the facility "Non-Approved" status and is coordinating with the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, Illinois Department of Human Services, and Department of Healthcare and Family Services to safely transition all youth to new placements.

Read the Full Report

Smiling man with tattoos on his arms in a gray t-shirt stands against wall.

Restoration of Rights Allows Thom to Move into the Community

Six years ago a court appointed Thom a guardian in response to evidence that he was unable to take care of himself due to symptoms resulting from a traumatic brain injury. While this guardianship was in effect Thom, at the age of 40, moved into a 116-bed nursing home. During that time Thom’s condition improved greatly as he redeveloped skills to make decisions and function independently.

After years of hard work and progress, Thom's doctors and staff at the nursing home agreed that he should have his guardianship terminated and be allowed to live on his own. However, Thom's aunt, who was serving as his guardian at the time, refused to cooperate with these efforts.

With nowhere else to turn, Thom contacted Equip for Equality Attorney, Julie Meglan, for help. Julie first attempted to get Thom's aunt to relinquish guardianship but was unsuccessful. Julie then turned to the court for help. Julie worked with Thom, his doctors, and nursing home staff to petition the court to terminate guardianship. With strong evidence of his ability to function independently, the petition was granted and Thom's right to self-determination was awarded.

After years of struggling to regain his freedom, Thom is thrilled to move into his own apartment and begin his new, independent life in September of this year.

When asked about working with Equip for Equality, Thom said, "Julie has been an awesome person. She’s been wonderful. She’s been like my backbone helping me through this."

Learn More About Guardianship

Contact us: 

contactus@equipforequality.org 

20 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: 800-537-2632 (Voice) | 800-610-2779 (TTY)

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