SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, is improving the process for reporting child abuse by reinforcing lines of communication between the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and other groups in charge of keeping kids safe.
“We’ve seen how too often Illinois’ protections for victims of child abuse are falling short. As a parent, I can’t imagine anything worse than leaving my kids in a home that’s not safe,” Halpin said. “Illinois has a robust system in place to care for children with bad parents. Unfortunately, these good people don’t always have clear lines of communication, and it prevents them from intervening when kids need their help. That has to stop and I’m grateful to the governor for signing this bill.”
Halpin passed House Bill 831, now signed by the governor, which requires the DCFS to report any findings regarding suspected mistreatment of children to the Department of Public Health and the Department of Health and Family Services within ten days of their discovery. The bill also removes a requirement that the director of the DCFS has to approve the release of these records.
Child abuse affects tens of thousands of Illinois children every year. In 2018, an average of 222 child abuse reports were filed every day. Ensuring that these reports make it to the right people is critical to tackling this problem.
“Preventing child abuse is a solvable problem, and this legislation is a big part of that solution,” Halpin said. “I’m committed to building a stronger Illinois and that includes creating bigger and better opportunities for our future generations. Children who grow up with abusive guardians will have a hard time taking advantage of those opportunities, and we can’t force them to fight those battles alone.”