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Centers for Independent Living

Designed and operated by individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs) provide independent living services for people with disabilities. CILs work to support community living and independence for people with disabilities across the nation based on the belief that all people can live with dignity, make their own choices, and participate fully in society. These programs provide tools, resources, and supports for integrating people with disabilities fully into their communities to promote equal opportunities, self-determination, and respect.​


A Center for Independent Living (CIL) is a private, non-residential, community-based, not-for-profit, consumer-controlled organization that is mandated to provide five (5) core services:​

  • Advocacy

  • Peer Support

  • Independent Living Skills Development

  • Information and Referral

  • Transition

​Independent Living means different things to different people. For those involved in the Independent Living movement, it means having control of one's life. Living independently does not mean doing everything for oneself. Rather, it means being in control of decisions made about oneself. This is the foundation upon which Centers for Independent Living are built. Consumer control exists on every level, where at least 51% of staff, management staff, and the Board of Directors must be individuals with disabilities.​


Staff serve as role models, demonstrating that individuals with disabilities can be independent and productive. Their knowledge, support, and guidance help to create informed choice options that give consumers the confidence to pursue their own independence and to realize their dreams and aspirations.


Attitudes are perhaps the most challenging barrier for individuals with disabilities to overcome. CILs work to dismantle this barrier by:​ advocating for changes in legislation, providing disability awareness-related activities, developing technical assistance initiatives regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and working in a committed fashion to deinstitutionalize individuals with disabilities who can and want to live independently. 


The work of CILs is guided by a federally approved State Plan for Independent Living that is written in collaboration with the Division, Center for Independent Living, and the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). The current plan can be accessed at the MiSILC website.​


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