In June, Quinn was honored with the 2012 President's Award from The Arc of Illinois, a statewide advocacy organization for people with disabilities, for his plan to move the disabled out of institutions and into communities.
"Our state has put most of its financial resources behind big institutions and I really don't feel that's the best way to go," said Quinn. "I think the families and citizens with disabilities feel the same as I do, that we should invest our resources in the community with opportunities for group homes."
The goal is to have 600 people with developmental disabilities live independently by 2014.
"We call it rebalancing. We're going to take some of those resources away from the large institutions. We're closing them and using that money instead to invest in the not-for-profit community care section," said Quinn.
The Arc of Illinois Executive Director Tony Paulauski said the plan can provide more resources to Illinois residents with disabilities.
"The rebalancing initiative mandates that they do what they call person-centered planning. People sit down with the individuals that are moving, and if their guardians are involved they sit down with them. They develop a plan about what they need to be successful in a community," said Paulauski.
"Every person should have a choice and their family should have a choice. I want to make sure we maximize the choice for everyone when it comes to independent living and also have community care," said Quinn.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and some parents are against the plan. Four state institutions are expected to close by 2014.
Rebalancing Initiative Fact Sheet: www.thearcofil.org