Category - Policy & Advocacy

Legislative & Advocacy Agenda

In FY2021, the Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) has several priorities that we will push this legislative session to ensure that children and youth have the tools and skills needed to thrive, and that the organizations serving them have the capacity and resources needed to serve young people and their families effectively. Some of these priorities are ones in which ICOY is the leading partner, or champion, and others are priorities in which we are working as allies in coalition with others. As always, ICOY will engage with emerging issues that arise throughout the year when they align with our mission, vision, and values.

Some of these priorities have carried over from the last legislative session, which was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic. We have taken a new look at them in light of the long-overdue racial reckoning to correct embedded systemic racism and promote justice and equity.

We will respond to budget proposals as they develop and will advocate for adequate resources and investment needed to ensure that children, youth, and families have a strong foundation.

Download a copy of ICOY's Legislative Agenda or read it in full below.

Illinois General Assembly

Establish the Medicaid Technical Assistance Center (MTAC) [Champion]

Pass enabling legislation that establishes a Medicaid Technical Assistance Center within the State’s Medicaid infrastructure, with the purpose of assisting community-based providers to successfully participate in Medicaid managed care, so that people may have access to behavioral health care in their communities, from providers they trust, and who understand and appreciate their culture, language and life circumstances.

View the MTAC fact sheet here

Child Welfare Reform Package [Champion]

Racial disparities and inequities are present throughout the child welfare system. ICOY has three bills designed to begin to address those disparities.

  1. Child Welfare Reimbursement Methodology HB3288/SB2313

    • Establish a standardized annual process that includes adjustments for the cost of doing business as measured by the Consumer Price Index for evaluating and setting reimbursements for child welfare services to ensure sufficient resources to obtain positive outcomes for children, youth, and families in the Illinois child welfare system. Children and families suffer, and children and families of color suffer disproportionately, when the child welfare system is inadequately funded to meet their needs.

      View the Child Welfare Reimbursement Methodology Fact Sheet

  2. Implicit Bias Training for Mandated Reporters HB3100/SB2503

    • Update the required training for mandated reporters to address implicit bias. Mandated reporters, who include people in health care, education, law enforcement, athletics, social service and mental health, crisis intervention services, the clergy, childcare, and funeral services, are responsible for approximately 65% of all calls to the abuse and neglect hotline. These mandated reporters must be aware of implicit bias when they are determining whether to make a call to the DCFS Hotline. Racial bias by mandated reporters has been identified as one of the factors in the disproportionality of families of color in the child welfare system.

      View the Implicit Bias Training for Mandated Reporters Fact Sheet

  3. Child Welfare Racial Disparities Report HB2914/SB2406

    • Require DCFS to produce an annual report and analysis of the following data de-aggregated by race and ethnicity for children and families involved in the child welfare system including education success, health, housing, jobs/economic justice, criminal justice, and other key metrics that serve as indicators of child wellbeing. The report and analysis will also look at children and families involved in a safety plan, instances in which DCFS took protective custody, investigations of each allegation of abuse and neglect per DCFS Procedure 300 Appendix B, findings of such investigations, and the number of court cases DCFS recommended to be filed in court for each allegation type. The initial report will serve as the baseline and then year-over year analysis will allow us to examine progress toward eliminating racial disparities.View the Racial Disparities Report Fact Sheet

Host Home Licensing for Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services [Champion]

HB692/SB206 - Establish new licensing and monitoring criteria for host homes serving youth age 11-17 who are experiencing a crisis and in need of a temporary alternative care model. CCBYS deflects young people from the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Host homes licensed under this act shall not be used for a child who is a youth in care of DCFS.

Juvenile Competency to Stand Trial [Champion]

Create a new standard to determine whether minors are competent to stand trial that considers age, developmental maturity, trauma, and disability. Include provisions to evaluate competency and processes to remediate or dispose of the case when incompetency is found. Current law applies the same standard to adults and children alike. Children and youth of color are disproportionately involved in the justice system; Black children especially experience “adultification”. ICOY and the Illinois Justice Project will lead the effort to advance this legislation, which was developed in coordination with the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership and the Loyola University Legislation and Policy Clinic.

Parity within the State’s Indemnification Act [Champion]

Address the lack of parity among the State of Illinois and its other contractors and vendors, and the child welfare providers, in the State’s Indemnification Act.

Certification for Women or Minority-led Nonprofit Organizations [Ally]

HB721/SB228 - Establish a stand-alone certification in Illinois state law for nonprofit organizations that are minority, disabled, and/or women-led, allowing eligible organizations to receive preferences in state contracting, similar to the preference established in the Illinois Business Enterprise for Minorities, Women and Persons with Disabilities Act (30 ILCS 575). This will expand opportunity and investment for community-based nonprofit organizations. ICOY is working in partnership with Elevate Energy to advance this legislation.

View the factsheet on this legislation

Child Welfare Racial Disparities Task Force [Ally]

HB3821 - Establish a task force to examine racial disparities in the child welfare system and make recommendations for addressing those disparities. The Child Welfare Racial Disparities Report legislation (above) will provide the necessary data to inform the work of this Task Force. ICOY is working in partnership with the Shriver Center on Poverty Law to advance this legislation.

Ban Detention of Young Children Under Age 13 [Ally]

HB3767/SB65 - Prohibit detention of children under age 13 and make recommendations for adequate resources and systemic responses to meet the needs of young children who come into contact with the justice system. Children and youth of color are disproportionately represented in the justice system; this disparity is even more pronounced for the youngest children who interact with the system. ICOY is working with the Juvenile Justice Initiative to advance this legislation.

Earned Income Tax Credit [Ally]

HB2792 - Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to make it eligible for workers 18-24 years old, and for those over age 65. This would reduce the regressive nature of Illinois’ flat tax, which disproportionately hurts low- and moderate-income individuals and families. ICOY is working in collaboration with Economic Security for Illinois to advance this legislation.

Illinois State Budget

ICOY is a fierce advocate to ensure that community-based providers have adequate resources to support children, youth, and families to reach their potential and contribute back to their communities.

Unified Approach to Health and Human Services Budgeting [Champion]

Pass resolutions in the House and Senate around the Guiding Principles.

Rate Reform for Behavioral Health Services [Ally]

Ensure that rates paid to community-based providers for behavioral healthcare services are sustainable and adequate to meet the needs of the individuals and families that they serve. ICOY is working in coalition with the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association, IARF, and the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health to advance this legislation.

COLAs for Child Welfare Workforce [Champion]

The wage disparity between the public sector and the community-based child welfare workforce is large and growing. The Governor’s budget includes funds to support a public sector wage increase, while overlooking the same for the community-based workers who serve more than 85% of the children in care. This wage disparity, which disproportionately affects a predominantly female BIPOC workforce, fuels an unsustainable turnover rate, which in turn drives longer lengths of stay in the child welfare system.

United States Congress

Legislative Proposal to Exempt QRTPs from IMD Definition [Ally]

Work in coalition with other state and national advocates to push for a budget proposal that would exempt Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs) from being considered as Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMDs)

  • Ensure continued Title IV-E reimbursement for Medicaid coverage for children in foster care while placed in that QRTP.

Federal Funding to Increase HHS, HUD, & Dept. of Ed. Appropriations [Ally]

Work in coalition with other human service advocates to ensure that children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness have access to services, housing, and education.

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