morrison 052522SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison championed a measure signed Wednesday that will provide a more holistic approach to supporting the mental health of children within the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of stress and trauma that contributed to skyrocketing rates of mental health problems among children – especially those within the foster care system,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “It’s vital we tackle the alarming rates of mental health problems in ways that are less invasive by providing greater healing-centered care. I firmly believe that’s how you create sustainable, scalable change in the lives of children.”

Morrison’s law – found within House Bill 4306 – creates the Holistic Mental Health Care for Youth in Care Task Force. The nine-member task force will review mental health and wellness services provided to youth in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. It will then give recommendations on how the department can provide a more preventative and holistic approach to mental health services to children within the foster care system.  

Specifically, the task force will assess the capacity of Illinois licensed medical health professionals to provide preventative mental health care to youth in foster care, review the current payment rates for mental health care providers serving the youth in care population, and evaluate the process for smaller private practices and agencies to bill through managed care.

 “When we look at how we’re treating the state’s youth in care, we have to remember how vulnerable they already are and how susceptible they’ve been to trauma,” Morrison said.

House Bill 4306 was signed into law Wednesday and takes effect immediately.