SPRINGFIELD – A new bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) requires numerous state agencies to provide support services to youth who are aging out of the Department of Children and Family Services care.

“Everyone isn’t magically able to take care of themselves once they become too old to fall under DCFS care,” Peters said. “The unfortunate reality for a lot of folks who age out of the program is that their struggles continues, and often get worse.”

Senate Bill 1808 is an initiative of the Illinois Chapter of the Foster Care Alumna of America. Studies have found that a significant percentage of young people between the ages of 19 and 21 who are former foster children experience homelessness, substance abuse, incarceration and difficulty receiving an education.

The measure requires many state agencies, including DCFS, the Illinois State Board of Education, The Illinois Urban Development Authority, and the Departments of Human Services, Juvenile Justice, Corrections, Healthcare and Family Services, and Human Services to enter into an interagency agreement to provide preventative services to youth who are currently or who soon will be aging out of DCFS care.

The agencies would be required to provide services that include housing support, educational support and employment support.

“Vulnerable youth don’t stop being vulnerable when they turn 18,” Peters said. “Many still need support, and this bill gives it to them.”

The bill passed through the Senate Committee on Human Services by a vote of 8 – 0 with two members voting present. It moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Youths who have experienced the deficiencies of the Department of Children and Family Services firsthand would be given a voice under a new measure proposed by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

Senate Bill 1743 requires DCFS to develop, process, and administer a standardized survey to gather feedback from youth who are currently aging out or who have recently aged out of the foster care system.

“If we want to improve DCFS, we need to listen to the people who live in it every day,” Peters said. “These surveys will push DCFS to face up to its deficiencies so that they can be remedied, which will allow the Department to provide the quality care the youth under its service require.”

The bill requires the surveys to be processed once every five years. It passed the Senate Committee on Human Services by a vote of 10 – 0 and will now receive consideration from the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Under a new bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), eligible youth will be provided a stipend to cover the costs associated with entering an apprenticeship.

“Many apprenticeships have a high cost of entry, which can create burdens for youth who can’t afford these costs, or even outright prevent youths from entering the programs,” Peters said. “If we can help ease the burden for the youth of our state, we can help them set themselves up on a path towards more successful and fulfilling lives.”

Senate Bill 1525 would require the Department of Children and Family Services to provide the stipend to youth who are currently a responsibility of DCFS, who aged out of care upon reaching the age of 18, or who were formerly in DCFS and were adopted or placed in guardianship. The stipend would cover the up-front costs of entering an apprenticeship, including fees, tuition, work clothes, rain gear, boot and tools that are specific to the occupation.

The measure would also require DCFS to develop outreach programs in order to make those eligible for the program aware of it. It passed through the Senate Committee on Human Services by a vote of 10 – 0 and moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to protect the rights of working class people across the state of Illinois, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) voted favorably on a bill that would ban right-to-work zones throughout Illinois.

“Unions are crucial to safeguarding the well-being of workers and working class people,” Peters said. “Any attempt to deny workers the right to unionize or collectively bargain should be prevented.”

Senate Bill 1474 creates the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, which permits employers and labor organizations to negotiate agreements that require union membership as a condition of employment. The legislation would also prohibit local laws or regulations that create “right-to-work zones” or disallow union requirements.

“The term ‘right to work’ is misleading,” Peters said. “The name implies that it is beneficial to workers, but it is actually harmful since it allows employers to prevent the formation of unions that protect the rights and interests of the workers who are a part of them.”

Peters was also a chief-co sponsor of the bill, which passed the Senate and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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