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Chicago City Wire

Friday, December 6, 2019

ILLINOIS STATE SENATE DISTRICT 9: Senator Fine’s legislation extending protection to youth in DCFS care becomes law

Politics

By Press release submission | Jul 29, 2019

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Illinois State Senate District 9 issued the following announcement on July 26.

Youth in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services will have a few mew more protections in place under a new law taking effect sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview)

Senate Bill 191 deals with eligibility for the Family Support Program services or an Individual Care Grant. Under current statue, parents may be forced to give up custody of their children in order for the children to receive necessary mental health care. This causes many parents to opt not to provide that care, which negatively impacts the health and well-being of the child. The result is often that the youth will begin to engage in delinquent acts or have difficulty managing or coping with negative emotions and behaviors.

“Having to choose between your child’s well-being and keeping custody of your child is a decision that no parent should be forced to make,” Fine said. “That dilemma is removed under this bill, which allows parents to provide their children with the care they need.”

The new law allows children who are placed under DCFS guardianship to retain their eligibility for Individual Care Grants, which provide funding to parents of children with mental illnesses.

SB191 also raises the age when cases involving children in youth care automatically expire, from 19 to 21.

“When a child who was once in care comes of age, that doesn’t automatically mean that they no longer require assistance,” Fine said. “Extending the age by just two years gives these young adults a little bit more time to find the stability they need to begin their adult lives.”

The bill is an initiative of the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, and contains elements from two of Fine’s measures that were sent to the House of Representatives. The House Sponsor combined the bills into one to ease the legislative process. SB 191 passed through both chambers of the General Assembly with unanimous, bipartisan support and is effective immediately.

Original source can be found here.

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