Earlier today the Illinois Senate passed House Bill 1596, a measure which amends various child welfare and juvenile court statutes to reflect more inclusive language in laws relating to children and families. The bill recognizes that the number of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ inside the DCFS system continues to grow. The following can be attributed to Nora-Collins Mandeville, Director of Systems Reform Policy at the ACLU of Illinois:
Today’s majority vote in the Senate sends House Bill 1596 to the Governor’s desk for final approval. A few years ago, the Illinois Auditor General reported that DCFS was failing to meet the needs of the growing number of LGBTQ+ youth under their care. Recognizing and affirming those youth by using appropriate and inclusive language is a critical first step to providing care to those for whom DCFS is responsible. Adopting gender inclusive language promotes equity and respect for all people – a laudable goal for our State. We thank the bill sponsors, State Senator Mike Simmons and State Representative Lakesia Collins, and encourage Governor Pritzker to sign this law as soon as possible.