hunter 050423 2SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Mattie Hunter advanced a measure through the Senate 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.

“We have a responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of all children in our state, and that includes providing youth in care with stable and permanent homes,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “This measure strengthens DCFS’ ability to provide appropriate placements for children and youth in their care, and helps to ensure they have the support and resources they need to thrive."

House Bill 3705 amends the Children and Family Services Act to provide that DCFS is responsible for placing children in permanent family homes through guardianship or adoption — rather than adoptive 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Additionally, the measure removes outdated language, including a provision requiring DCFS to establish the Governor’s Youth Services Initiative, which was disbanded in 2019.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 vital in enabling DCFS to effectively provide children the care and support they need and deserve,” 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 on Thursday.