Chicago – Continuing his fierce dedication to protecting the well-being of youth in care, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) will attend a joint committee hearing to discuss the 2020 budget of the Department of Children and Family Services.

“I have first-hand experience about the importance of DCFS and the services it provides because I was a child of adoption,” Peters said. “Some of the kids in DCFS care are in extremely vulnerable places, and if DCFS isn’t doing its job to protect them, either through lack of funds or negligence, then a lot of these kids will struggle to succeed later in life.”

In the FY2020 budget passed this spring by Peters and his General Assembly colleagues, DCFS was given an $89 million increase in funding. At the hearing, representatives from the Department will present their plans for how they intend to allocate the additional funds, as well as speak regarding the areas where they anticipate still having issues.

“If we can get a direct account of the needs of DCFS, then we can go into next session knowing the issues they face and the best way to address those issues legislatively,” Peters said.

The hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. in the Bilandic Building’s sixth floor hearing room.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) that will give college students who may be eligible for SNAP benefits more opportunities to learn about the program was signed by the governor and became law Friday.

“There are a lot of students who struggle to find their next meal because they’re not ever aware they’re eligible for SNAP benefits,” Peters said. “This law will help raise awareness of the program so that college kids can rely on the community around them to not go hungry.”

Senate Bill 1641 requires the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to identify and flag college students who could be eligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and requires the Commission to post notices that includes SNAP eligibility requirements and other information where students are likely to see them.

“In the richest country in the world, college students going hungry is unacceptable,” Peters said. “This also results in fewer people being able to financially justify attending our colleges and universities. Simply raising awareness of the benefits students are entitled to can go a long way in helping address this issue.”

The bill, which was approved by both chambers of the General Assembly with strong bipartisan support, was signed by the governor today. It is effective immediately.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD –School districts will be required to operate with more transparency about their teacher employment data under a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) that became law Friday.

“Public school class sizes have been growing larger and larger over the last several years, which makes it harder for educators to provide the quality education,” Peters said. “Communities of color are hit particularly hard by this. These students are already at a systemic disadvantage, and they deserve to have the opportunity to learn the skills they need to succeed.”

House Bill 254 requires all school districts, including the Chicago Public Schools, to report their teacher employment data, including student-to-teacher ratio and number of teachers employed by the districts. Districts must submit their reports to the Illinois State Board of Education by Nov. 16, 2020. The bill was an initiative of Raise Your Hand Action.

“Requiring school districts to report this data allows parents to be stronger advocates for their community’s schools,” Peters said. “This will lead to better conditions in the classroom, both for teachers and their students.”

The bill is effective immediately.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Entering an apprenticeship program often requires expensive fees, tuition and tools, but eligible youth could have those associated costs covered thanks to a bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) that became law today.

“It’s too often a person who otherwise wants to start an apprenticeship and take the first steps toward self-sustainability is unable to because they can’t afford the upfront cost of starting an apprenticeship,” Peters said. “This could result in them having no choice but to find a job in a field with lower wages or fewer benefits. Youth in care often lead difficult lives, and we should strive to make it easier for the kids aging out of the system by tearing down the systemic barriers that hold them back.”

New apprentices often are required to pay for fees, tuition, clothing and tools required as they begin in their chosen occupation. Senate Bill 1525 requires the Department of Children and Family Services to establish a stipend program that will cover the upfront costs associated with entering an apprenticeship. The stipend would be provided to youth who are currently a responsibility of DCFS, who aged out of care upon reaching the age of 18, or who were formerly in DCFS and were adopted or placed in guardianship.

The bill also requires DCFS to develop a plan to increase awareness of the program.

The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, was approved by both chambers of the General Assembly with unanimous bipartisan support.

Category: Press Releases

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