Senator Doris Turner


SPRINGFIELD – Families of Department of Children and Family Services workers killed in the line of duty will receive survivor health insurance benefits thanks to State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield).

Turner championed a recently signed law that will treat the death of a DCFS worker similar to the death of law enforcement officers.

“In response to the fatal stabbing of Deidre Silas, we must ensure the families of those who serve our most vulnerable populations are cared for,” Turner said. “Ms. Silas gave her life as a dedicated public servant, and this is the least we can do to honor her commitment to our state.”

Under the Public Safety and Police Benefits Act, if a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty, his or her spouse and children under the age of 18 are eligible to receive health insurance benefits.

Previously an employee was required to have eight years of service to receive survivor benefits. Senate Bill 3197 will change the State Employee Group Insurance Plan by expanding the occupational death benefit to ensure that any family members of DCFS caseworkers or investigators killed in the line of duty receive survivor benefits, regardless of how long they’ve worked for the agency.

The law comes following the death of Deidre Silas, a DCFS caseworker who was killed during a home visit last month, and Pamela Knight, who experienced the same tragedy in 2017. The legislation will be retroactive for ten years to ensure the family of the late Deidra Silas receives benefits from the state.

“We must protect people like Deidre Silas,” Turner said. “I will continue to push for commonsense reforms to ensure our brave civil servants and their families are protected in the event of a tragedy.”

SB 3197 was signed into law on Friday and goes into effect immediately.