Sen. Melinda Bush

SPRINGFIELD – Jurors in Lake County will continue to have the option to donate their compensation to the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), under a bill co-sponsored by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).

A pilot program that currently allows Lake County jurors to donate their wages to the CAC is set to expire at the end of the year. The CAC has requested the program be extended until Jan. 1, 2022, because it has increased revenue and public awareness of children’s advocacy issues. In 2019, jurors contributed nearly $1000 to the Children’s Advocacy Center.

“The Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center helps child abuse victims find their voice and brings offenders to justice,” said Bush. “We should continue to aid their efforts by allowing jurors the option to donate their compensation.”

The CAC, a division of the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, investigates and prosecutes cases of child abuse. It also advocates for child abuse victims in court, refers children for counseling, and offers presentations and training on crisis intervention.

Nearly one in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually abused by age 18, and 68% of victims are abused by a family member, according to the U. S. Department of Justice.

“Victims of child abuse are often scared to come forward because their abuser is someone they know and trust,” said Bush. “We can give them the strength they need to speak out by backing groups like the Children’s Advocacy Center.”

House Bill 392 awaits action in the Senate Human Services Committee.