House approves Welter bill to improve care for youth in DCFS facilities

The Illinois House of Representatives has unanimously approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by State Representative David Allen Welter, R-Morris, to give youth living in facilities managed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) a strong and influential voice in shaping decisions to improve the care they receive.

Specifically, House Bill 3153 requires DCFS to place a locked suggestion box in each group home, shelter, and transitional living arrangement that accepts youth in care for placement by DCFS. If enacted into law, DCFS would be required to issue an annual report to the General Assembly outlining the concerns submitted to the boxes and the solutions for each concern.

“This initiative will empower youth living in a DCFS facility to make anonymous suggestions to improve the quality and conditions of the care they receive,” Representative Welter said. “Current law already requires DCFS to place locked suggestion boxes in each residential treatment center. Only DCFS employees have access to these suggestion boxes, however. We should allow the youth we serve to make suggestions too. Together we can make the DCFS system more accountable and effective.”

House Bill 3153 now advances to the State Senate for consideration. It secured final passage in the House of Representatives by a vote of 111-0 on Wednesday. The Chief Co-Sponsor of Welter’s bill is Representative Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora.

Representative Welter serves the 75th District, which includes portions of Kendall, Grundy, LaSalle and Will Counties.