About Us

Individual Advocacy Group is a CARF accredited nonprofit organization dedicated to community- based supports and personal advocacy for individuals with special needs. IAG provides training programs, behavioral and individual therapies, community-based residential programs, advocacy, and case management for individuals who have intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, brain injuries or physical/medical conditions. All of IAG’s programs are community-based and all residential programs are family scale of four or fewer people in Illinois, and three or fewer in Washington, D.C., using neighborhood housing and apartments. IAG provides its services in 21 counties in Illinois from Chicago to the Quad Cities to Springfield, as well as the District of Columbia and Maryland.

IAG believes that all individuals deserve and should receive respect regardless of their history, type of disability, or severity of specialized needs. Furthermore, all individuals must be assured of their endowed rights of community participation and personal independence shared by all members of society. Each individual can meet his or her personal goals, follow personal interests, and find personal success and happiness. Accordingly, people with disabilities can achieve personal success and happiness if given the chance and the support. Regardless of the impediments any person with disabilities may have encountered along the way in life, their chance is now and the opportunity is here to find self-respect, develop a positive self-image and achieve personal goals

Our Founders

Dr. Charlene Bennett and Dr. David Brooks founded Individual Advocacy Group in 1995.

Dr. Charlene A. Bennett, Ed.D. is a Professor of Education, who has always been concerned about children and their education. She has been especially interested in children who need special supports because of medical, physical or cognitive challenges.

David Brooks, Ph.D. has worked on behalf of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) in a variety of roles over 40 years. While at the Illinois statewide advocacy organization Illinois ARC he initiated the Bogard Class action suit that assured the over 3,000 individuals with IDD improperly placed in general nursing homes received the right to placement in appropriate IDD setting, while working for the Illinois Medicaid agency, he developed and implemented, with Dr. Bennett, the first statewide system for people with IDD that met federal regulatory requirements for Medicaid, and later co-founded with Dr. Bennett Individual Advocacy Group (IAG) in 1995. Starting in 1980 and continuing at IAG, Dr. Brooks has had a special interest in persons with IDD who have severe behavioral and emotional challenges.

We believe in every individual's right to live full,
self-directed lives with dignity and independence.

Our Mission

To provide a full array of quality, outcome-based, functional and age-appropriate person and community-centered services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities, emotional disabilities, and neurological disabilities.

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Our Vision

To ensure opportunities that will promote the best possible chances and probabilities of personal outcomes, which includes:

  • being active and valued participants at home, school, work, and in the community;

  • having lasting and meaningful relationships with family, friends, and neighbors;

  • developing and exercising one’s own abilities and gifts; and

  • having personal security and individual rights.

We Need Your Support Today!