SPRINGFIELD – Continuing her advocacy for youth in care across Illinois, State Senator Lakesia Collins is pushing for legislation to address their struggles and how Illinois can help with the transition out of DCFS and support their future.

“As someone who has gone through the foster care system and faced homelessness on my departure, I cannot explain how vital this change is for so many who are currently in the state’s care,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “Making sure our youth can transition out of care to find stability and thrive in life is my top priority.”

Collins’ legislation, Senate Bill 2820, would extend the eligibility for youth in care from 21 years old to 23 years old, allowing youth to stay in the DCFS system for two more years.

Currently, youth in care who reside in temporary, long-term, in-home care or who are wards of the state are not eligible to receive most services after the age of 21. Some youth who require significant medical or behavioral and mental health assistance may be eligible to continue receiving services until age 23, but Collins hopes to standardize the expansion of services to all youth in state care.

“Today we see youth in care struggle with homelessness, jobless, and a cycle of trauma. Expanding the benefits of care two more years gives our youth so much more hope,” Collins said. “It’s proven that childhood trauma has brain altering effects that make it difficult for some survivors to have good stable housing, and giving them more time to find that stability will make all the difference.”

Collins is committed to continuing her work with advocates to find solutions to supporting youth in care around the state.