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Field Instruction

Field Instruction with the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission

The Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission (IGAC) is an executive state agency created to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities. These functions are accomplished through three statewide major programmatic divisions: Office of State Guardian; Legal Advocacy Service; and Human Rights Authority. In addition to providing direct services, all three of the Commission's divisions are active in the formulation and recommendation of state policy, regulations, and legislation pertaining to the rights of persons with disabilities.  The Guardianship and Advocacy Commission hosts many students completing internship as well as satisfying field instruction requirements. 

The Commission's Office of State Guardian (OSG) serves as "guardian of last resort" for individuals with disabilities when no other person is available to serve. Most of its wards are indigent or have limited assets. The Office of State Guardian also assists the court, as the court directs, in guardianship proceedings. In addition, the Office of State Guardian counsels and assists families or others willing to become guardians, with the goal of locating non-public guardians and securing alternatives to guardianship.  OSG offers both clinical and administrative internships experience under the supervision of a qualified instructor or LCSW in a number of areas.  Some examples of areas of study are client visit, consultation and advocacy, policy review; grant research, training and development, volunteer guardianship, organizational development, budgetary and legislative issues and legal review.

The Legal Advocacy Service (LAS) was created so that eligible children and adults, who have a disability, could obtain legal advice and representation to protect and enforce their rights guaranteed by Illinois' mental health laws. LAS offers clinical internships under the supervision of licensed attorneys, including the opportunity to gain practical experience in the areas of client interview, legal research and writing, and oral advocacy.  For law students with a Supreme Court Rule 711 license, the opportunity to provide trial and appellate court representation to disabled persons in proceedings under the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code is available and encouraged.

The Human Rights Authority is comprised of nine separate authorities.  Each authority has nine volunteers appointed by the Commissioners.  The HRA investigates complaints of alleged rights violations against disability laws.  The Authority offers a free forum that permits negotiation with providers and avoids the confrontation of a courtroom. The Human Rights Authority offers supervised administrative internships in the following areas: staff development, policy reviews and development, program evaluation and human rights investigations of disability service providers

IGAC offers a flexible work schedule and a variety of opportunities. For additional information on field instruction or to set up an appointment to meet us please call (312) 793-5900 and speak to Constance Umbles-Sailers or Helen Godlewski.

 

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