SCHAUMBURG, Ill. – In an effort to improve communication between the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Departments of Family Services (DFS) and Health and Family Services (HFS), state Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, has supported legislation that would require DCFS to submit their reports within 10 days of a completed investigation to the respective agency.
“When there are children in danger, the last thing that the children need are barriers to help because of red tape,” Mussman said. “Getting help should not be complicated. Thankfully this bill addresses some of the issues that have slowed down the process in the past. It makes it very clear how to handle situations of abuse and because of it, those who need help with have their cases processed faster.”
The Mussman-backed House Bill 831 aims to cut down on the miscommunication between agencies. Current law indicates that DCFS will investigate instances of child abuse when there are credible allegations meeting certain criteria, while DPH investigates hospitals and other health care facilities for children, including psychiatric facilities. Unfortunately, there has been little overlap. As a result, instances of abuse that occurred at a psychiatric facility may have been documented by DPH but those reports were not required to be sent to DCFS. This bill establishes a mandatory connection between the agencies so that when a report is investigated, both agencies are aware.
“As a result of House Bill 831, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect investigations will be sent confidentially to the directors of DPH and HFS,” Mussman said. “The Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act has strict guidelines that this bill takes into account. It is time to strengthen our agencies that protect children and families and it is our responsibility as legislators to make these agencies run as efficiently as possible.”