SPRINGFIELD – College students who are potentially eligible for SNAP benefits will now have more opportunities to learn about the program under a new bill proposed by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“Many students rely on SNAP benefits in order to not go hungry, but a lot of folks aren’t taking advantage of these benefits because they don’t even realize they’re eligible,” Peters said.

Senate Bill 1641 requires the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to identify and flag college students who are potentially eligible candidates to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The bill also requires the Commission to develop a notice that includes SNAP eligibility requirements and other additional information and post that notice to places where students are likely to encounter it.

The bill passed through the Senate by a vote of 46 – 1, and will move on to the House of Representatives.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – If a person charged with a misdemeanor is determined by a court to be mentally unfit to stand trial, a bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) would allow them to be transferred into diversionary programs instead of entering the criminal justice system.

“People who have mental health issues need to be helped, not neglected,” Peters said. “If we’re able to offer these folks a program that can serve as an alternative to incarceration, we can take a big first step towards ending the criminalization of mental illness.”

These programs, known as “misdemeanant diversion programs,” work to identify individuals with mental illnesses, provide them with stabilizing treatment, and direct them toward community provided mental health services and away from incarceration.

Read more: Peters looks to provide the mentally ill with incarceration alternatives

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Seeking career education is a path that requires fees, tuition and tools, but eligible youth could have those associated costs lessened under a plan proposed by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

Senate Bill 1525 requires the Department of Children and Family Services to provide a stipend covering the upfront costs incurred upon entering an apprenticeship program. New apprentices often are on the hook for fees, tuition, and clothing and tools specific to their chosen occupation. 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.

“A lot of folks find themselves unable to pay for the upfront cost of starting an apprenticeship, which prevents them from entering into that field and forces them to find work that might not pay as well or have as many benefits,” Peters said. “Life in youth care is hard, and we shouldn’t make it harder for the kids aging out of youth care by keeping in place another systemic barrier.”

The bill also requires DCFS to develop a plan to increase awareness of the program. It was approved by the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support and will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD –Various state agencies will be required to provide support services to youth who are transitioning out of DCFS care under a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“Several studies have shown that former foster children between the ages of 19 and 21 are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, incarceration and difficulty receiving an education,” Peters said. “Our goal should be to intercept the youth who might fall into these bad experiences and divert them toward situations that are less difficult.”

Senate Bill 1808 requires many state agencies, including DCFS, the Illinois State Board of Education, The Illinois Urban Development Authority, and the Departments of Human Services, Juvenile Justice, Corrections, Healthcare and Family Services, and Human Services to enter into an interagency agreement to provide preventative services, including housing support, education support and employment support, to youth who are currently or who soon will be aging out of DCFS care.

“I’m a child of adoption myself, so I understand how much of a struggle life can be for kids in this situation,” Peters said. “We have the ability to provide them with continued support upon entering adulthood, so let’s provide it.”

The bill passed through the Senate with unanimous support. It will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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