Four pieces of legislation sponsored by State Representative Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich) to reform policies at the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and support youth in state care were recently signed into law.
“Far too many kids in our state are being let down by the countless number of problems at DCFS,” said Bos. “There is no single cure-all that will fix DCFS overnight, but through these bipartisan changes that are now law, we are taking some important steps in the right direction to improve support for our kids in state care. We have a lot more work to do and I’m committed to staying in the fight for as long as it takes. Our kids deserve nothing less.”
The four pieces of legislation that are now law include:
- House Bill 5418 – The new law updates the Foster Children’s Bill of Rights to ensure youth in care are taught to recognize inappropriate acts of affection or discipline and have regular visits with child protection workers, as well as provide access to programs to help them transition from foster care into adulthood.
- House Bill 4304 – This law updates the process for moving youth in care out of a foster placement to ensure the youth has the opportunity to meet with an investigator and have their concerns addressed before a placement is changed.
- House Bill 5064 – The new law codifies the guidelines for transporting a youth in foster care to improve safety standards.
- Senate Bill 3130 – This law updates the adoption and reunion process for youth and foster parents who have aged out of the foster system so they are able to access information to reunite with past foster families, parents or siblings. Previous law limited this to biological families.
Bos, an adoptive parent himself who previously served as the Director of Development for a non-profit that works to free children from sexual exploitation and provides healing programs for adolescents and adults, has made addressing the problems at DCFS a top priority since joining the legislature.