Section 705 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandated that each State establish and maintain a Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). Council members are appointed by their State's Governor.
People with a broad range of disabilities who are not employed by a State agency or Center for Independent Living (CIL) must comprise the majority of the SILC. Statewide representation and Council members who are knowledgeable about independent living is advised.
Representatives from organizations that serve people with disabilities are encouraged to apply as SILC members. In addition, ethnic, racial, and socio-economic diversity is desired. Other recommended Council members include family members of, and advocates for, people with disabilities, as well as business owners.
Voting members cannot be employed by a State agency that provides services to people with disabilities. The SILC is required to have at least one CIL Director, who was selected by, and who represents, their State's CIL Directors.
SILC members may serve two consecutive 3 year terms. If a member leaves the Council prior to the expiration of their term, another member must be appointed for the remainder of their predecessor's term.
SILC's primary responsibility is developing three year Statewide Plans for Independent Living (SPIL). The SPIL's focus is increasing access and independence for people with disabilities. SPILs specify how funds will be distributed to, and services will be provided by, CILs throughout their State.
SILC monitors and evaluates the SPIL's implementation. Timelines for the achievement of the SPIL objectives should be included. Federal government agency Rehabilitation Services Administration scrutinizes every State's SPIL.
SILC holds regularly scheduled meetings. Committees are also integral to the SILC. SILC educates policymakers regarding issues that affect people with disabilities, including, but not limited to affordable, accessible housing, accessible public transportation, employment, health, home and community based services, recreation and social services.
A SILC and CIL directory is available at: http://www.ilru.org/html/publications/directory/
Centers for Independent Living serve people with all disabilities. There are more than 500 CILs in the United States. CILs provide four core services:
CIL's philosophy is that people with disabilities are the most knowledgeable about their needs, and can therefore best determine appropriate supports and services for their independence.
Over the past four decades, Disability Educator and Sign Language Instructor Cindy Powell has advised businesses, employers, government agencies and nonprofits about best practices with people with disabilities.
Cindy provides customized training on the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), tax incentives and other helpful topics, such as disability etiquette and service animals. Ms. Powell also provides customized sign language training.
Cindy has served on local, state and national disability organization Boards of Directors. Ms. Powell was recipient of International Association of Workforce Professionals' 2006 Services to Specialized Populations award. Cindy’s disability articles appear in print and online.
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