hunter 041823SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Mattie Hunter is leading a measure to reinforce that services provided by the Department of Children and Family Services are intended to be temporary until the involved child can be safely returned home or find a permanent home.

“It is vital that our child welfare services prioritize the placement of children in suitable family arrangements, particularly when reunification or adoption are not possible,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “This bill strengthens the state’s goal of ensuring that every child has the opportunity to grow up in a loving, permanent family.”

House Bill 3705 amends the Children and Family Services Act to provide that DCFS is responsible for placing children in suitable, permanent family homes when restoration to the biological family is not safe, possible or appropriate. The measure clarifies DCFS’ responsibility for children or youth whose jurisdiction could not be clearly named as under one individual agency, or whose services may be provided by multiple agencies, and reaffirms that welfare services offered by DCFS are intended to be temporary until safe reunification or timely and permanent placement can be achieved.

Additionally, the measure removes outdated language, including a provision requiring DCFS to establish the Governor’s Youth Services Initiative, which was disbanded in 2019. The elimination of this language brings the Children and Family Services Act in compliance with changes implemented by the Reproductive Health Act.

“This legislation is critical for ensuring that DCFS is effective in providing the best possible outcomes for children in need,” Hunter said. “DCFS services are meant to be temporary, and our focus should remain on reuniting children with their families or placing them in safe, permanent homes.”

House Bill 3705 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday and moves to the Senate floor for additional consideration.