SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville, is sponsoring legislation aimed at gaining additional insight as to how the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can better serve Illinois’ youth in care.
“There is nothing more important than the well-being of all of Illinois’ children. The newly issued report from DCFS exposes more of the structural and systemic issues that are hurting the agency’s ability to protect our children,” said Edly-Allen. “We have a lot of urgent work ahead of us to ensure that every child is safe and healthy.”
DCFS, the state’s child welfare agency, is in the spotlight again following the beating death of a 5-year old Crystal Lake boy whose family had a long history of contact with the agency. A new report released earlier this week highlights the impact of the budget impasse on DCFS operations coupled with a 10.8% increase in abuse and neglect investigations.
Edly-Allen, a member of the newly established Child Welfare Caucus, is sponsoring Senate Bill 1793 to require DCFS to survey youth who have aged out or are aging out of the state’s foster care system. This firsthand information about the youth’s experience and recommendations for improvement of services will be submitted to the General Assembly.
“Reforming DCFS will take a comprehensive approach that puts children first,” added Edly-Allen. “My bill ensures that moving forward we are getting feedback from the youth in state care to understand firsthand how state policies and protocol affect them, and to get their feedback on how the agency can better serve its children. I am very much looking forward to bringing together youth in care, the House Adoption & Child Welfare Committee, the Child Welfare Caucus and other advocates to strengthen our state’s child welfare system.”