WEST CHICAGO – State Senators Karina Villa and Laura Fine held a Senate Behavioral and Mental Health Subject Matter Hearing Thursday to discuss the psychiatric needs of detained youth across Illinois.
“There are hundreds of children across Illinois waiting to receive the care they need and deserve,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “We must prioritize the needs of these children and ensure they have access to the appropriate care.”
The hearing was held at the request of Villa’s Mental Health Advisory Committee, a group made up of mental health professionals in DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties who work together to advocate for mental health resources and care in the community.
The hearing focused on the drastic shortage of residential placements for youth across Illinois in need of psychiatric services. With more than 250 children across Illinois awaiting placement, these children are left at home or in hospitals with no access to adequate facilities with the proper care necessary to serve them. Children who have been through the justice system also experience additional barriers to receiving specialized care.
Family Service Association of Greater Elgin, Kane County Juvenile Justice Center, Peoria Juvenile Detention Center, and Children’s Home Association of Illinois spoke at the hearing to present their thoughts. They work with youth who have experienced significant trauma and present acute psychiatric needs, and have been directly impacted by the lack of inpatient psychiatric placement for youth who need additional services.
“Today’s hearing shined a light on where we need to focus our efforts to improve the delivery of mental healthcare for youth in crisis across Illinois,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “Our committees are working diligently to ensure our children and loved ones have access to vital mental health resources and treatments for successful outcomes.”
Villa and Fine look forward to continuing the discussion and seeking answers for children across Illinois in need of care.