DCFS to establish a pilot program for misrepresented families under Villa measure

SPRINGFIELD – The Department of Children and Family Services could soon be required to establish a three-year pilot program to maintain safety and eliminate risks for minority children in in DuPage and Williamson County, under new legislation championed by Senator Karina Villa (D- West Chicago).

“Removing a child from the home is a traumatizing experience for everyone involved, and the disparity of Black children in the child welfare system is deeply concerning,” said Villa.

Under Villa’s measure, DCFS would be required to establish a three-year program to promote unbiased decision making in the child removal process while maintaining and reducing the risk of safety and disparity among minority children. The decision making process would include the child protection specialist to remove all demographic information including but not limited to, the child’s name, race or ethnicity, the child’s sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and political affiliation. In addition, an advisory board would be established to determine if the decisions made are warranted.

DCFS would be required to submit a report to the General Assembly on the progress of the pilot program and its effectiveness by July 1, 2024.

“No family should have their child taken away because of misrepresentation or discrimination,” said Villa. “My hope is that this measure will allow case workers to approach each case without pre-empted conclusions or judgements regarding a child and their demographic. Let’s look to avoid unnecessary risks toward the health, safety and well-being of these unrepresented children.”

Senate Bill 3720 passed the Senate Executive Committee and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.