As your constituent, I write to support House Bill1596, a measure to modernize language in our state’s child welfare system. All of us recognize that in Illinois, DCFS too often fails to meet the needs of the youth. Regular news reports on tragic events and DCFS shortcomings makes it all too clear that we need to do much more to help youth in our state.
HB 1596 takes a simple step that aids youth. In February 2021, the Illinois Auditor General issued a scathing report finding that DCFS had failed to follow its own rules to affirm LGBTQ youth. These failings cannot be correctly without adopting appropriate, gender inclusive language that affirms the identities of youth and families involved with the agency. While not changing any substantive meaning of any statute, HB 1596 can make the path through DCFS easier by simply using more welcoming, gender-inclusive terms.
HB 1596 simply makes a troubled system more welcoming by recognizing young people for their authentic selves. I ask that you co-sponsor HB 1596 and support it when it is considered on the Senate floor.