CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. – To ensure guardians ad litem are able to execute their duties to protect children who are victims of abuse, state Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake, is asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign her legislation waiving confidentiality for counseling.
“Under current law, information uncovered during court-appointed counseling in suspected child abuse cases is kept confidential, even if a child discloses that they are a victim of physical or sexual abuse,” said Ness. “Patient privacy is sacred, but if a child discloses to a counselor that they have suffered abuse, the counselor should be able to share that information with the court to ensure the child is protected and not re-victimized.”
Ness recently passed House Bill 2741, which would remove statutes that require all court-appointed counseling sessions in suspected child abuse cases to remain confidential. This measure would allow information disclosed during these sessions to be used in litigation by the guardian ad litem to protect the best interests of the child. Ness’ initiative is the result of close work with local attorneys. The bill passed both the Illinois Houses of Representatives and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and was recently sent to Pritzker’s desk to be signed into law.
“Guardians ad litem serve as the voice for the most vulnerable, including children, but current law can prevent them from being able to carry out their duties and protect children from their abusers,” continued Ness. “I urge the governor to sign this commonsense measure into law to help the courts do their jobs and keep children out of harm’s way.”