CHICAGO – State Rep. Kimberly DuBuclet, D-Chicago, is working to bring greater cultural awareness to the foster care system by passing legislation through a House committee to ensure youth in care receive culturally appropriate haircare.

“Proper haircare is necessary for our wellbeing. Haircare is an important part of hygiene, in addition to holding social and cultural significance,” DuBuclet said. “Black children, in particular, can require certain kinds of hair maintenance that potential foster parents need to be aware of and sensitive to. We need to be sure our laws help caretakers prepare to meet all of their children’s needs.”

DuBuclet’s House Bill 5097 would require caseworkers work with foster parents and foster children to create a haircare plan. Beyond basic hygiene, the plan must also be mindful of factors such as the child’s race, culture and identity. The plan must also consider the child’s and parents’ desires pertaining to the child’s hair, as well as a plan for dealing with emergencies such as lice or scalp infections.

The bill was approved by the Adoption & Child Welfare Committee to the House floor.

“Providing children with adequate haircare can positively impact them in a number of ways even beyond the benefits of good hygiene, such as improving their self-confidence.” DuBuclet said. “This legislation will make sure these caregivers have a plan in place for proper maintenance and that adopted and foster children’s hair will be properly cared for.”

“The fact that this bill was initiated by youth in foster care – members of the Statewide Youth Advisory Board to DCFS – only emphasizes its importance,” said Anita Weinberg, professor and co-director of the Civitas Child Law Center at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  “How one wears their hair is significant to ones’ cultural, racial, religious, and other identities, especially for youth in care who too often are removed from their homes and placed in settings that do not reflect – and may not honor – who they are.” 

“Every youth under the care of DCFS deserves the dignity of being able to outwardly reflect their authentic self, including in the way they wear their hair,” said Nora Collins-Mandeville, Director of Systems Reform Policy at the ACLU of Illinois. “House Bill 5097 will help ensure that children can care for their hair in a fashion that is consistent with their identity.”  

For more information, please contact

Rep. Kimberly Neely du BucletRep. Kimberly Neely du Buclet

5th District

Springfield Office:
286-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-4535

District Office:
5048 S. Indiana Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 924-4614