SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A measure to help attract qualified social workers to work on child welfare cases sponsored by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, is now law in Illinois.
“When a child is potentially being abused or neglected at home, it’s critical that they have a skilled advocate looking out for their best interest,” Stuart said. “Social workers focused on child welfare have an incredibly important job, to protect the most vulnerable children and families, but staff turnover can disrupt child welfare cases when time is of the essence. This pilot program will help reduce high turnover while also providing some financial support to future social workers.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed Senate Bill 136 into law, which creates a new pilot program to award up to $20,000 over two years to students pursuing a degree in social work if they commit to working for the Illinois Department of Family and Child Services (DCFS) for at least three years after graduation. The measure aims to draw qualified employees to the agency, while also helping child welfare social workers pay down their student loans. Throughout her time in the Illinois General Assembly, Stuart has been committed to helping Illinois college students and ensuring agencies such DCFS have the resources they need to keep children in our communities safe.
“By helping stabilize and support Illinois’ child welfare workforce, this program will lead to better outcomes for children and families,” Stuart said. “We are helping Illinois students earn a degree without going into greater debt so that they can give back to our communities by helping protect children through social work.”