Independent Living Philosophy – The independent living concept is based on the philosophy that people with all types of disabilities should have the same civil rights as those without disabilities. They have a right to control their lives based on options that minimize their reliance on others.
History – The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in Section 705, required the establishment of the Statewide Independent Living Council. The Centers for Independent Living (CILs) were created in the late 1960s at the University of California at Berkeley. Federal funding for operations for independent living became available in 1978.
Purpose – The purpose of the Statewide Independent Living Council is to:
-Develop, sign, and submit the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL), in cooperation with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind (RSB).
-Monitor, review, and evaluate implementation of the SPIL.
-Support the Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and advocate for disability rights and related issues.
-Gather and disseminate information, conduct studies and analyses, develop model policies, conduct training on independent living issues, provide outreach to unserved and underserved populations, and work to expand and improve independent living services in Missouri.
Membership – The council consists of a minimum of nine members and a maximum of 22 members. A minimum of 51 percent of the members must have significant disabilities. Members represent a range of geographical areas and disabilities. The governor of Missouri appoints the membership.
Meetings – The Statewide Independent Living Council meets quarterly (in February, May, August, and November) in Jefferson City and other locations around the state. Information on meetings, minutes, the SPIL, membership, etc., can be accessed on the SILC website or by calling the SILC. Meetings are open to the public and accommodations must be requested at least three days before a meeting.
Achievements – Since its inception, the Statewide Independent Living Council has:
-Established a network of 22 CILs in the state, which brings independent living centers within a reasonable distance for most people with disabilities.
-Created and maintain a comprehensive resource manual online to assist new centers in all phases.
-Collaborate and help plan ongoing annual training conferences for all CIL staff and board members, in cooperation with VR and RSB.
-Increased involvement of CIL staff in decision-making processes and committee membership.
-Established a website to inform the public of SILC activities.
-Instituted quality control measures through the use of outcomes measurement surveys.