Today, House Bill 1596, which amends various child welfare and juvenile court statutes to reflect more inclusive language in laws relating to children and families, becomes law. The new law was signed by Governor Pritzker in early June of this year. The new policy recognizes that many of the children under the care of DCFS identify as LGBTQ+ and that our system must affirm and recognize the identity of these individuals. The following can be attributed to Nora-Collins Mandeville, Director of Systems Reform Policy at the ACLU of Illinois:
Today is a good day for the growing number of LGBTQ+ youth under the care of DCFS. We know that the Department has failed to meet the needs of this group of youth. Recognizing and affirming LGBTQ+ youth by using appropriate and inclusive language is a small, but critical first step to providing care to those for whom DCFS is responsible. Adopting gender inclusive language promotes equity and respect for all people. We are proud that the State of Illinois is moving forward to fully implement this laudable goal. Our work to ensure that Illinois serves all the young people under the care of DCFS, including LGBTQ+ youth goes forward.