CHICAGO – To further support foster care youth across Illinois, state Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, introduced a measure to provide exit interviews to foster care youth when they leave a foster home. The bill was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker Friday.
“Foster care youth are some of our most vulnerable young people, and their voices too often go unheard,” Collins said. “When a young person leaves a foster home, it is critical that the Department of Children and Family Services understands their experience and perspective so that they can adequately address the young person’s needs going forward.”
House Bill 4304 requires DCFS to give exit interviews to youth over age 5 who leave a foster home. Within five days of the child’s removal, a caseworker, mental health provider of a clinician from DCFS’s Division of Clinical Practice will conduct an exit interview with the child. The purpose of the interview is to address how the child’s basic needs were met and their safety, comfort and treatment in the home. The interviews will be documented in the foster parent’s licensing file, the child’s case file and provided to the children’s guardian ad litem and an attorney.
“As a former youth in care, I know how important it is to listen to and validate the perspectives of youth in foster care,” said Collins. “This legislation is an important step in making sure youth in foster care get a chance to live the happy, healthy and safe lives they deserve. I am proud to have put forward this meaningful legislation and I am grateful to Gov. Pritzker for his signature. Together, we can build a better future for foster care youth in Illinois.”
For more information on this bill, please visit www.ilga.gov.