Download this National Kids As Self Advocates Document (doc: 97K) www.fvkasa.org
Centers for Independent Living (CIL), also called Independent Living Centers (ILC), came out of the Independent Living Movement led by Ed Roberts (a disability community leader) during the 1970ís. People with disabilities were fighting for their rights and to access services. They wanted to choose which services were better for them and use these services while living in their community. People with disabilities believed that they knew what services worked best for themselves and others in the disability community. The first Center for Independent Living began in March of 1972 in Berkley, California. Under Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1978, the national independent living program became a law. This law created CILís around the country. As part of the law people with disabilities had to be the key players in the development of policies and managing the services of the independent living programs.
A Center for Independent Living (CIL) is a nonprofit agency that assists people with all types of disabilities. CILís are consumer-controlled. This means that the people with disabilities who receive the services make the decisions. By law, at least 51% of the employees and 51% of the board members of CILís must be people with disabilities. CILís are community-based, meaning the services are designed to meet the needs of the people in the community. They help people with disabilities to live as independently as possible in their own homes. CILís do this by providing various services. Each CIL has different services. The services can change based on what people with disabilities need in their community. However, at every CIL there are four core services.
Other services may include deaf and blind services, housing, transportation, and recreation. Centers usually have people (as part of systems advocacy) who can go with students and their parents to IEP (Individual Education Plan) meetings at their school. Some centers also help youth who are going from high school to college or work to find accessible housing and PCAs (Personal Care Attendants).
If you are a person with a disability, then a Center for Independent Living is there to help you. There is an Independent Living Center in every state. To find out more about the CIL in your city/state, go to one of the links below to get contact information for your state.