By passing House Bill 4781 (the KIND Act), the Illinois House is making sure that our state’s family regulation system prioritizes the interests of youth in that system. For too long, Illinois policy has failed to recognize the valuable role played by relatives who step in to care for youth when DCFS removes these children from their parents. The KIND Act recognizes the positive role these relatives play in the lives of children – whose lives have been disrupted – and provides the same resources to care for the child made available to foster parents who may well be strangers.    

Research shows that placing youth in the family regulation system with relatives, rather than strangers acting as foster parents, is good policy. Staying with a family member lessens trauma of family separation, reduces the number of times a child is moved, enhances permanency options if youth cannot be reunified, results in higher placement satisfaction for youth in care, and delivers better social, behavioral, mental health, and educational outcomes for youth than when they are placed in non-kin foster care. 

We thank Representative Marcus Evans for his leadership in securing passage of the KIND Act in the House. We look forward to continuing this momentum in the Senate in the remaining weeks of the session.