CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. – State Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake, recently helped pass two bills that work to remove certain barriers that students with developmental disabilities and their families face.
“Illinois has a multitude of resources available to children with developmental disabilities and their families, but some parents may not be aware of the resources that are available to them,” said Ness. “The PUNS database registers individuals who want or need developmental disability waiver services, and while many schools already provide families with information on how to register with PUNS, legislation we passed will ensure that this is occurring across the board, so that all eligible children can receive necessary services.”
Ness co-sponsored House Bill 290, which requires school districts to provide notification to the parent of a student with an individualized education program (IEP) that the student may be eligible to receive additional specified services, benefits or resources through PUNS. Ness’ bill was recently signed into law by the governor.
Since coming in to office, Ness has been a strong advocate for students with developmental disabilities and their families. This session, she introduced House Bill 2748, which would allow students with disabilities who aged out of their transition programs during the pandemic and missed crucial in-person activity, to extend their IEP into the next school year. The bill passed both the Illinois Houses of Representatives and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and was recently signed into law by the governor.
“COVID-19 has been tough on all students, however for students with disabilities and their families, it has been especially devastating,” said Ness. “As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, we must take a look at where children and adults with disabilities may have been especially affected by the pandemic and work diligently to connect them with resources that they need.”