adoptive familySPRINGFIELD – Access to services available to post-placement and post-adoption children will be expanded thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) that was signed by the governor today.

“As a child of adoption myself, I experienced first-hand the importance of these services to youth in care,” Peters said. “I have been fully committed to improving the lives of youth in care during my time in the Senate, and this new law will give kids who are adopted or placed in foster care a better ability than I had to access the helpful services they require.”

The law, which was House Bill 3587, will:

  • add mental health treatment, counseling and support services for emotional, behavioral, or developmental needs, and treatment for substance abuse to the definition of “post-placement and post-adoption services”;
  • expand the requirements of the Department of Children and Family Services to establish and maintain accessible services;
  • require DCFS to establish and maintain a toll-free number to respond to public requests about the service; and
  • require DCFS to properly publicize the new services and the toll-free number.

The bill is an initiative of the Adoption Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, which has argued the legislation will better ensure successful adoptions and lower the rate of children being returned to state care.

The bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly with unanimous support and is effective immediately.

Category: News

ChildrenSPRINGFIELD – Youth who are transitioning out of DCFS care will be eligible to receive support from various state agencies under a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) that was signed into law today.

“Former foster children between the ages of 19 and 21 have a significantly higher risk of facing many hardships, including homelessness, substance abuse and incarceration, and often have difficulty receiving a quality education,” Peters said. “If we can offer services to the kids who are at risk of facing these disadvantages, then we can provide them with a much higher quality of life than they otherwise might have.”

Senate Bill 1808 requires many state agencies 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. Agencies affected by the bill include 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.

“I understand better than most how kids in this situation can face a real struggle since I am a child of adoption,” Peters said. “Since the ability for these state agencies to offer services into adulthood exists, then we should work to provide those services. This bill achieves that.”

The bill, which is effective immediately, passed through both chambers of the General Assembly unanimous support.

Category: News

CHICAGO – The operation of private detention centers would be banned under a new law spearheaded by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“For-profit detention centers are a breeding ground for mistreatment and they encourage bad actors to worsen the already poor living conditions as a way to save a few bucks,” Peters said. “They do not belong in our state. I’m proud to have led the charge on this fight, and I’m grateful to Gov. Pritzker for signing this important piece of legislation.”

House Bill 2040 was filed in response to a vote approving plans to build a 1,200 bed detention facility taken in March by the Board of Trustees of Dwight, IL. It takes the already existing ban on private prisons one step further by closing a looping and to extending the ban to all civil detention centers.

“I’m proud to have stood side by side with organizers and advocates on this important issue that impacts so many lives throughout the state,” Peters said. “Whether it is mass incarceration or mass deportation, the individuals affected by these cruel policies are all tied together, and we must fight to protect them.”

The bill was signed by Gov. Pritzker today, and is effective immediately.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate today passed a series of bills establishing a budget for the 2020 fiscal year. State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) voted in favor of these bills, passing a balanced budget during his first session in Springfield.

“This budget is another step on a path to stability, and will provide much-needed services to the people who rely on them the most,” Peters said. “The state budget should be a tool to help those in need, and I’m proud to have been a part of ensuring that this year’s is.”

The 2020 Fiscal Year budget provides funding increases to many services across the state, including the Department of Children and Family Services. It also increases funding for various educational programs, a detail Peters noted as being very important to him.

“I’m particularly pleased to see how much more we’re investing in education,” Peters said. “The strength of a society can be measured by how well it looks out for future generations, and I think this makes us look pretty strong. We’re fulfilling our promise to invest in education.”

The budget allocates $375 million for the evidence-based model of educational funding, surpassing the original estimate by $25 million. This includes $50 million in additional property tax revenue. In a separate provision, early childhood education will also receive an additional $50 million.

“From preschool to college, this budget gives working and middle class families a way to pay for the education their children need,” Peters said. “Schools in black and brown communities have been struggling for decades, and I’m thrilled that this budget addresses some of that concern.”

Peters also called attention to the funding the budget provides for DCFS and DHS programs and employees.

“We’ll be investing $100 million to DCFS to allow that department to not only hire and train over 300 new employees, but also to provide wage increases to the folks who do these jobs,” Peters said. “They do some of the hardest and most necessary jobs in the state, and I’m happy that this budget provides them with a way to make it easier for them to pay their bills.”

The budget also allocates some funds for violence prevention methods.

“It takes more than just an increased police presence to help prevent violence. It also requires financial investment to treat the cause of the violence at its source,” Peters said. “I’m glad this budget recognizes this and provides effective means of keeping our communities safe.”

The budget must be approved by the House of Representatives before being sent to the governor. With the governor’s signature, the budget approved by the Senate today would take effect July 1.

Category: Press Releases

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