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Chicago CILA Abuse Lawyer

Community-integrated living arrangement facilities, or CILA, are intended to offer safe, inclusive group homes where people with developmental disabilities can learn to live as independently as possible. When CILA caregivers neglect their duty to protect these vulnerable citizens, you can count on a CILA abuse lawyer at Levin & Perconti to stand up to the CILA provider and fight for justice for your loved one.

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CILA abuse can cause life-threatening physical injuries while leaving the victim with profound psychological damage that hinders growth and development. Sadly, this abuse is often perpetrated by the very caregivers who are supposed to protect them and foster that growth.

CILA abuse often remains in the shadows because those affected have difficulty understanding or vocalizing what occurred. The Illinois Department of Human Services is responsible for supervising CILA facilities, but a 2018 audit by the Office of the Auditor General uncovered serious shortcomings in DHS monitoring and licensing procedures.

As a result, CILA providers have been able to continue abusing these innocent individuals without oversight.

If your loved one has suffered mistreatment in a CILA group home setting, our compassionate and experienced CILA lawyers at Levin & Perconti can help you take immediate action to protect your loved one and pursue substantial compensation.

What Is a Community Integrated Living Arrangement?

A Community Integrated Living Arrangement is a group home, family home, or apartment where up to eight adults with developmental disabilities live under supervision. They receive individualized supportive services and assistance in maintaining, developing, and improving life skills. CILA group home facilities are licensed and supervised by the Illinois Department of Human Services.

According to the Illinois Auditor General, there were 3,097 CILA group home facilities in Illinois as of 2018, which serve approximately 10,000 developmentally disabled individuals. Approximately a third of them are located in Cook County.

How Common Is CILA Abuse?

The exact incidence of CILA abuse is unknown because this crime is largely underreported.

In 2021, DHS received 779 allegations of abuse, but by the end of the fiscal year, it had failed to complete investigations of 579 of the allegations. Of the 200 allegations that were investigated, DHS found the following:

  • 18 substantiated cases of abuse
  • 76 unsubstantiated cases, which means there was credible evidence of abuse but not enough to verify it
  • 25 unsubstantiated allegations with recommendations, which means the facility was admonished to make changes
  • 74 unfounded allegations, which means there was no credible evidence of abuse
  • 7 unfounded allegations with recommendations

Based on this data, more than half of the allegations were credible, which means hundreds of CILA residents may still be experiencing abuse unchecked after the abuse was reported to DHS. This is in addition to the thousands of unreported instances of abuse that may be occurring.

Related: Shocking Video Shows 28-Year-Old Disabled Man Being Hit Repeatedly in the Head at a Group Home

Who Is Liable for CILA Abuse?

Liability for abuse in CILA facilities falls on the staff member who committed the abuse, the owner of the facility, any staff or organization that manages the facilities, and in some cases, the Department of Human Services.

Why Might the Department of Human Services Be Liable?

Proper supervision by DHS is crucial to ensure CILA facilities are safe. A 2018 audit found multiple deficiencies in the agency’s oversight of CILA group homes, which puts CILA residents at risk of ongoing abuse. The most concerning deficiencies include the following:

  • Failure to perform inspections on schedule and fully disclose deficiencies that were found during the inspections that did occur
  • Failure to report negative findings by the Office of the Inspector General to the licensing department, a practice that allows unqualified and abusive providers to keep their licenses
  • Failure to show whether immediate corrections were made for violations that could put CILA residents at risk of harm.
  • Failure to revoke licenses when DHS knew providers falsified documents and failed to correct deficiencies
  • Failure to monitor the personal funds of CILA residents, which were maintained at the CILA locations, putting clients at risk of theft and financial exploitation.
  • Failure to follow up when problem providers were identified
  • Failure to ensure residents received the required number of weekly visits while transitioning into or out of CILA arrangements.
  • Failure to involve clients or guardians in individual services plans

According to State Representative Charlie Maier, as many as 74 percent of these deficiencies remain unaddressed as of September 2022, more than four years later.

What Types of Abuse Occurs in CILA Homes?

CILA abuse is any intentional or inappropriate conduct against a CILA client that could cause physical, psychological, or financial harm, including the following:

  • Mental abuse – Degrading, intimidating, or threatening words or actions that may cause emotional distress in anyone who experiences or witnesses it
  • Physical abuse – Deliberate or malicious physical contact that causes bodily harm
  • Sexual abuse – Any sexual or intimate conduct perpetrated on a resident by an employee, including sexual intercourse and fondling, but also actions that do not involve physical contact, such as exposing oneself, displaying pornographic materials, or sexually explicit language
  • Financial exploitation – Accessing a resident’s money or property through theft, manipulation, or coercion and using it for personal financial gain
  • Neglect – Failure to provide for the physical and mental needs of CILA residents
  • Abandonment – Leaving a CILA resident without care or supervision

Who Are the Abusers in CILA Settings?

Abuse can be perpetrated by anyone who comes into contact with residents, including family members, vendors, and other residents. Unfortunately, most abuse is perpetrated by employees. Neglect is one of the most common forms of abuse, and this alone can have profound physical and psychological impacts on vulnerable adults.

Warning Signs of Abuse in CILA Facilities

Recognizing the warning signs of abuse in CILA group home residents is crucial because they may be afraid, embarrassed, or unable to tell you about it. The following symptoms of abuse in developmentally disabled adults may be warning signs if they are unusual, especially if they appear suddenly:

Warning signs of financial exploitation include the following:

  • Withdrawals of large amounts of cash
  • Unexplained credit card charges
  • Checks that appear forged
  • Unpaid bills
  • Unfamiliar creditors

If you see checks signed by your loved one but written to individuals you or your loved one doesn’t know, or for purchases your loved one would not have made, this could also be a sign of financial exploitation.

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse in a CILA Home

If you suspect your loved one has been abused in a CILA facility, take the following immediate action:

  1. Call the Office of the Inspector General’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-368-1463.
  2. Call the police. If your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911.
  3. Contact an experienced CILA abuse lawyer.

Don’t wait until you can prove the abuse. A suspicion is enough to warrant a report. When you contact one of our compassionate and skilled CILA abuse attorneys, we will help you report the abuse to the proper authorities, immediately go to work to protect your loved one’s safety, and help you file a lawsuit against the liable parties.

Victims of CILA Abuse May Be Entitled to Financial Compensation

If your loved one has experienced abuse in a CILA setting, you can count on our empathetic and capable CILA abuse attorneys to fight for your loved one. Your loved one may be entitled to recover significant compensation for damages, including the following:

  • Mental anguish
  • Physical pain
  • Medical expenses
  • Moving expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of society

The compensation you and your loved one recover will depend on multiple factors specific to your case, including the severity of the abuse, who the liable parties are, and the weight of the evidence against the CILA center.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a CILA Abuse Lawsuit?

In most cases, you must file a lawsuit within two years of your loved one’s injury. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. Determining the exact time limit in cases involving developmentally disabled adults is complex because they may lack the capacity to file a claim on their own behalf.

It is important to contact a CILA attorney as soon as possible after the abuse so we can determine how the statute of limitations applies in your case well ahead of its expiration. If you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, you lose your right to seek compensation forever.

Why Choose Levin & Perconti for Your CILA Abuse Case

As pioneers in long-term care litigation, we have been helping the most vulnerable members of society for more than 30 years. We were one of the first law firms to stand up for vulnerable Illinois adults.

We actively support legislation to protect CILA residents and have been asked to testify in support of such legislation because of our commitment to protecting the rights and well-being of disabled Illinoisans.

Nursing home abuse and neglect bear striking similarities to CILA abuse because both types of cases involve vulnerable citizens who often cannot self-advocate. Our Illinois trial lawyers are responsible for the state’s three largest nursing home neglect verdicts, which include the following:

  • $4.1 million jury verdict for an 85-year-old nursing home resident who was severely injured when her medications were mismanaged
  • $2.9 million jury verdict on behalf of the family of a 57-year-old resident who suffocated to death from negligent tracheostomy tube care
  • $2.7 million jury verdict for the estate of a 67-year-old man who died from a fall due to nursing home negligence
  • $2.8 million record settlement against a nursing home on behalf of a 59-year-old resident who developed multiple painful bedsores that became infected and took four years to heal
  • $2.3 million settlement for the family of an 88-year-old assisted living resident who died from infected bedsores, a case that also resulted in the criminal indictment of the doctor for negligent homicide

We recently secured a $1.5 million settlement against a CILA facility for the family of a 31-year-old who sustained traumatic brain injuries and died from CILA abuse. We have also achieved numerous confidential settlements against these facilities.

Don’t wait to take action if you believe your loved one has experienced abuse at a CILA group home facility. We can help you keep them safe and get justice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.