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Welcome to the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission. Since 1979, the Commission has served the needs of incapacitated adults, through its Office of State Guardian, and all other persons with disabilities through the Human Rights Authority and the Legal Advocacy Service. Please visit the rest of our web site to get important information about the work that we do.

Dr. Mary L. Milano
Director
Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission


The Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission is comprised of eleven citizens appointed by the Governor for three-year terms. These Commissioners serve in a voluntary capacity to govern the agency, and are selected for a particular of expertise. An annual election is held at the end of each fiscal year, at which time the Commissioners elect a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. Members of the Commission are:

 

Anthony E. Rothert
Chairperson
Andrea M. Schleifer
Vice Chairperson
Senator Don Harmon Marlene Rankin
Brian N. Rubin Senator Ira Silverstein
Inez Torres Davis Barbara Berry-Bailey
Sharon Jenkins-Collins, D.C. Lawrence Schlam

 


Anthony E. Rothert, Chairperson
Anthony Rothert is the Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri. His previous experience includes six years as a staff attorney with the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission's Legal Advocacy Service. Mr. Rothert received an MSW and his Juris Doctorate from St. Louis University in Missouri. He has taught courses at Sanford Brown College in St. Louis at the Bachelor and Associate Degree levels. An active member of the Bar Associations, he serves on many committees in a variety of capacities, some include; The Committee on Human Rights, The Committee on Law- Related Education for the Public and The Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, The Committee on Mental Health and Committee of Supreme Court Rules. He has been an active member of IGAC's Human Rights Authority in the Metro East Region for the past two years and serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Guardianship Association.


Andrea M. Schleifer, Vice Chairperson
Andrea M. Schleifer has been a Cook County Circuit Court Judge since 2010. She had previously been an attorney in her own practice for thirty-one years. Ms. Schleifer specialized in general civil litigation. She served as the President of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers (2008-2009), and is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Judges Association, the Jewish Judges Association, the Alliance of Illinois Judges and many other professional organizations. She volunteered with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services for 25 years and was elected to two terms on Board of Directors.

Her past accomplishments include 6 years with the Center for Conflict Resolution, formerly Neighborhood Justice of Chicago, as a mediator and member of the Board of Directors of the community-based dispute resolution service. She is a graduate of Indiana University and received her law degree from Loyola University of Chicago.




Honorable Don Harmon, State Senator - 39th District
Don Harmon was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. He carries a BA from Knox College and a Masters of Business Administration and law degree from University of Illinois at Chicago. He has been serving in the Senate since 2002. He has promoted a progressive agenda, advocating for better educational opportunities for children, greater access to affordable health care, meaningful assistance to seniors facing high prescription medical costs, and economic opportunity for all citizens of Illinois. Harmon has sponsored legislation to authorize local governments to enhance funding for people with disabilities and permitting the Chicago Park District to create such a program, he sponsored legislation creating the Equal Pay Act , worked to create the Senior Citizen Prescription Drug Discount Program. He passed legislation to create the Illinois Early Leaning Council, to address vicious dog attacks and he authored the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003, to prohibit discriminatory policies by State, county or local governments. He serves as the vice chair on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is a member on the Senate Appropriations II Committee and the Senate Insurance and Pensions Committee. In 2003, the Illinois Association of Park Districts honored Harmon with their Outstanding Legislator of the Year award. He currently lives in Oak Park, with his wife Teri, and their three children.


Marlene Owens Rankin
Marlene Owens Rankin is Managing Director of The Jesse Owens Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, based in Chicago, which is dedicated to helping youth attain their fullest potential. She is one of the Foundation's founders and has served as Director since 1990.

Before joining the Foundation in 1990, Rankin held various positions in the social services field. Her nearly 35 years of management experience includes Director of Human Resources of Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry; Director of Personnel and clinical social worker for United Charities of Chicago (now Metropolitan Family Services), Social Service Planner for the Governor's Office of Human Resources, and Planning Unit Coordinator for the Chicago Committee on Urban Opportunity/Model Cities. She also served as a Social Worker for the Chicago Youth Centers and Cook County Department of Public Aid's Children's Division (now DCFS).

Rankin received a Master's Degree in Social Work from The University of Chicago and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Welfare from The Ohio State University. She was listed in Who's Who of American Women in 1985.

As an active member of several local and national organizations, Rankin has served as a board member of the School of Social Service Administration at The University of Chicago, is a sustaining board member of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and was one of the first members of the City of Chicago Board of Ethics, appointed by Mayor Harold Washington.

She was Chairman of The Ohio State University Annual Fund from 1990 to 1993 and served on The Ohio State University Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1985 to 1990.

She was listed as one of 100 Women Making A Difference in Today's Chicago Woman in 1991 and received the Top Ladies of Distinction Annual Orchid Award in 1992. She received the Distinguished Service Award from The Ohio State University in 1993, one of the University's highest non-academic honors. At the 2002 Black Women's Expo, she received the Phenomenal Woman Award for Philanthropy. In 2003, she was inducted into the CivicMakers category of The HistoryMakers, an archival resource for scholars.

She and her husband have served as Co-Chairs for The Ohio State University Annual campaign, she serves on the Know Your Chicago Committee of The University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies, an annual lecture and tour planning group. She serves on The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Endowment Committee for Field Education.

Rankin and her husband reside in Chicago's Hyde Park community. They have one son and daughter in law and are the proud grandparents of a grandson and granddaughter.



Brian N. Rubin
Attorney Brian Rubin, a practicing attorney since 1976, is the parent of three children, one of whom, Mitchell, has Autism. Brian's law practice, since 1982, when Mitchell was one year old, has been dedicated to serving the legal and future planning needs of his fellow families of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and/or mental illness. Brian is the President of The Arc of Illinois; has been a member of the Board of Directors of Clearbrook (serving more than 3,600 individuals with developmental disabilities) since 1989; is a member of the Board of Directors of Pact, Inc. (PAS/ISC Agent for DuPage County, also available to serve as Trustee of Special Needs Trusts, as well as available to serve as Guardian); is Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SLSF, the foundation supporting the Northwest Suburban Special Recreation Association (NWSRA); served as the founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of The Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL Foundation); served on the Board of Directors of KESHET (Jewish Parents of Children with Special Needs); served on the Board of Directors of Northpointe Resources; serves on the Board of Directors of the Special Needs Alliance, the national, non-profit, association of experienced special needs planning attorneys (membership is by invitation only); served on the Special Needs Law Section Steering Committee, of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; was a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners; and is a Faculty Member & Text Book Author for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE). Brian is also the Past Chairman of the State of Illinois Statewide Advisory Council on Developmental Disabilities; Chairman of the State of Illinois Autism Task Force since it was established by the Illinois Legislature in 2005; serves as a member of the State of Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission; served on the State of Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General Quality Care Board; served on the State of Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities Strategic Plan Team; served on the State of Illinois Disabilities Services Advisory Committee (The State of Illinois "Olmstead" Committee); and served on the State of Illinois, Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities Quality Committee, among many other State of Illinois Committees and Commissions. Brian also serves on the Leadership/Steering Committee of the Supported Community Living Initiative, a joint venture of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, the Jewish Child and Family Services, and Keshet, regarding residential and day programming for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Brian is a former IRS Agent and a former IRS Estate Tax Attorney. Brian served by appointment on the American Bar Association's Sub-Committee on "Special Needs Trusts and Other Protective Vehicles". Brian has served by appointment of the President of the Illinois State Bar Association on that Association's "Section Council" on Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. Brian also has served, by appointment, on that Association's "Standing Committee" on the mentally disabled. Brian served three, four year terms, twelve years, as an elected Village Trustee in Buffalo Grove, Illinois (population 45,000) and was the founder of and served as Chairman of the Buffalo Grove Commission for Residents with Disabilities. Brian is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Buffalo Grove and has also served as an Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 6440.


 

Honorable Ira Silverstein, State Senator - 8th District.
Honorable Ira Silverstein- State Senator (D) 8 th District. Senator Silverstein is an attorney with degrees from Loyola University and John Marshall Law School. He is a current member of the Chicago Bar Association; the Estate Planning and Probate Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and Decalogue society. His practice concentrates in areas of Probate and Guardianship. He has served as a Guardian Ad Litem in the Probate Court since 1988. He is the past President of the Northtown Community Council; and is a current board member of the Korean Senior Center. He is the Director of the Bernard Horwich JCC and is married with four children.



Inez Torres Davis
As a facilitator of Open Space Technology, the Peter F. Drucker's Organizational Self Assessment and William Bridges and Associates Leading Organizational/Personal Transitions, Inez has provided strategic planning retreats for Lutheran and community organizations. Mrs. Torres Davis served on the religious leaders' forum panel of President Clinton's Initiative on Race, "One America In The 21st Century” (1998) and the World Council of Churches consultation for Church Women's Response to Racism in Bangalore, India (2000).  Mrs. Torres Davis has served the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on the Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services board and on the In the City for Good Funding Team.

Inez has worked professionally as an anti-racism educator since 1994, and anti-bias education since 1991. One part Chiricahua Apache and two parts Mexican American, Mrs. Torres Davis has conducted cross-cultural immersion experiences on Reservations as well as in Appalachia.

In addition to writing and gathering curriculum used in teaching hundreds of women about being anti racist organizers, Inez has also worked in areas of organizational development, cross-cultural education, commercial sexual exploitation, environmental safety and working with youth. Since 1997 she has consulted with various groups on issues related the full-inclusion of people living with disabilities and has written disability related cross-cultural tips for the web.


 

Barbara Berry-Bailey
Rev. Barbara Berry-Bailey serves as Program Director for Companionship for Africa in the churchwide office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She carries a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Michigan in Speech Communication and Theater, and spent 20 years working in public broadcasting, including National Public Radio in Washington, before earning a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. In addition to numerous production credits including "Grace Matters," the radio ministry of the ELCA; and executive producer of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra broadcasts, Pastor Barbara has written for several publications including The Lutheran, Sundays and Seasons, The Word in Season, God's Story is My Story, edited by Walter Wangerin, Jr., and What Can Happen When We Pray. She has been a featured preacher on The Protestant Hour, Thirty Good Minutes of Television, and hosted the 2002 Christmas Eve telecast of This Holy Night, on CBS. She has served pastorates in Philadelphia, and West Lawn Pennsylvania, and is currently serving as Interim Pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Chicago's Norwood Park area.

 

Sharon Jenkins-Collins
Sharon Jenkins-Collins has been a Doctor of natural health care for 34 years. She holds both Doctor of Naprapathy and Doctor of Chiropractic degrees.

Dr. Jenkins-Collins is in private practice on the south side of Chicago. She has been married for 25 years and is the mother of four children. Her passion for the population that the Commission serves is derived in part from her experiences as the mother of a son with special needs.

 

Lawrence Schlam
Lawrence Schlam is a Professor of Law at Northern Illinois University College of Law, where he teaches child law, juvenile court mediation, federal and state constitutional law, and the anthropology of conflict resolution. He is also Director of Pro Bono Initiatives at the law school. He previously taught at DePaul College of Law and, earlier in his career, was staff attorney at the National Institute for Education in Law and Poverty at Northwestern University School of Law. He has, for many years, practiced in the area of constitutional and child law, has written several articles on child law, state constitutions and other matters, and has been a lecturer at several law school symposia and bar association meetings.

Professor Schlam received his B.B.A. from the City College of New York and his J.D. from New York University School of Law. He is also certified as a mediator by Northwestern University. Earlier in his career he trained as a community organizer and helped create several of the first youth crisis and intervention programs in the Chicago area, including the first runaway hotline in the United States, serving as general counsel to many of these programs. Professor Schlam has also been a staff attorney for, or Director of, Legal Services Programs in Chicago.

His has been chair of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section of the Illinois State Bar Association, and is presently a member of the ISBA Child Law Section Council. Professor Schlam is also Professor-Reporter to the Illinois Judicial Conference Committee on Juvenile Justice, responsible for updating and editing the Illinois Juvenile Law Judicial Bench Books, and is General Editor of (and Chapter author for) "Illinois Juvenile Law and Practice" (IICLE). He has also organized County Juvenile Court Mediation Programs.

 

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