LOMBARD – Attorneys, doctors, and other professionals may be included in the state board that sets child welfare policy, reviews child protection standards, and investigates complaints against child welfare workers under a new bill, sponsored by state Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn, and passed by the Illinois House.
“As an attorney, I am often appointed by the courts to serve as a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of children who may have been abused or neglected,” Costa Howard said. “I know from my personal experience that lawyers, doctors, and other professionals can offer important perspectives in child welfare cases. It makes sense to allow these highly trained, experienced people to serve on the Child Welfare Employee Licensing (CWEL) Board.”
The nine members of the CWEL board are appointed by the DCFS director. Under current law, five of the members must be licensed human services professionals. The bill, HB 19, would allow the director to appoint lawyers, doctors, or public administrators to those seats as well.
“The CWEL board provides oversight for thousands of licensed child welfare professionals throughout Illinois,” said Costa Howard. “This bill will expand the board’s expertise in important ways, so I hope the Senate and Governor will do their part in making this needed reform a reality.”