Centers For Independent Living

A Center for Independent Living (CIL) is a non-residential, community-based organization, directed and managed by persons with disabilities, which is dedicated to the philosophy that all people with disabilities have the right and the responsibility to make choices to control the direction of their lives and participate fully and equally in their communities. CILs differ from traditional service agencies in many ways, the first being that they are staffed and governed primarily by persons with disabilities. Federal and State laws, which define CILs mandate that at least 51% of staff and board are persons with disabilities. This brings a positive perspective based on personal experience with disability and an understanding of issues and barriers faced, and the potential for success.

All CILs advocate, educate, and help to empower persons with disabilities by providing:

  • Information, Referrals, and Resources for Independent Living,
  • Independent Living Skills Training such as how to prepare a budget, build a resume, hire and manage a personal assistant when needed, and develop awareness and self-advocacy skillsPeer Support, opportunities for social activities, meetings, and networking. Persons with disabilities comprise at least 51% of all CIL staff and boards of directors and use these services themselves.
  • Individual and Systems Advocacy for personal rights and policy change locally and throughout Illinois. Speaking out to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.
  • Transition Support from high school to college and/or work, and from institutionalization to independence on their terms.

There are 22 CILs in Illinois, and the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) is their statewide association. SILC’s mission is to provide leadership, research, planning, and education required to support independent living services in Illinois. We do this by identifying and reaching out to persons currently un-served and underserved by CILs; increasing awareness of independent living services and the independent living philosophy; helping existing CILs to better serve persons with disabilities; and promoting the development of new CILs.

SILC’s Planning Supports CILs Services – Through the State Plan for Independent Living, SILC works to expand existing CILs and independent living services. SILC also supports the development of new programs where services are not currently available. The Council works to ensure that independent living services and CILs are accessible to all persons with disabilities.

Click here to find the CIL closest to you.