hunter 061323SPRINGFIELD — To further reinforce the goals of the Department of Children and Family Services, State Senator Mattie Hunter’s legislation that removes obsolete language from the Children and Family Services Act was signed into law.

“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,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “This law makes these goals clear and ensures the language within this important act is current and compliant.”

Amending the Children and Family Services Act, the new law provides 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Additionally, the measure removes outdated language, including a provision requiring DCFS to establish the Governor’s Youth Services Initiative, which was disbanded in 2019.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.

“While this may seem like a minor change, this legislation is vital in enabling DCFS to effectively provide children the care and support they need and deserve,” Hunter added.

House Bill 3705 was signed into law June 9 and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024.