HB4054 is the bill in the state of Illinoi...
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Published on: Mar 4, 2016

Transcripts - Policy+Breif_Abraham

  • 1. SERVICES FOR EMANCIPATED FOSTER CARE YOUTH IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS PolicyIssue HB4054 is the bill in the state of Illinois which addresses the Foster Youth Successful Transition to Adulthood Act concerning Youth-in-Care that transition to independence. This specific bill/act is where Precisely, I would like for there to be amendments added to this Act, namely mentioning those that have aged out of state’s care and the services that will be provided to them. This particular bill states that the Foster Youth Successful Transition to Adulthood Act enables those under the age of 21 to reach out to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Juvenile Court upon encounter of “significant hardship”. The bill further sates that the department will then provide assistance and supports for them to live independently as adults. ("Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for 4054") I admire the creators of this particular policy as they have in mind the best interests of those that age out of foster care at 18 and this bill entails services and support for those over 18 and under 21. This is a big step towards excellent services for former youth-in care so that they are lot left abruptly in the “real-world” with virtually no additional resources for their aid. Youth Successful Transition to Adulthood Act ensures that the youth receive services until the age of 21. However my issue is that there needs to be amendments added to HB4054 in regards to those that are over 21 who were once in the care of the state. It is not in my intention to state that the government is to provide services for this population until the end of their lifetime or for a significant time period. But it is in my intention to verbalize that services should be provided to these individuals until they can “stand on their own two feet”. To be clearer, even at the age of 21, abrupt termination and end of care procedures are not effective as it leaves these individuals underprepared and short-handed in terms of resources to survive independently. All I am asking for is practical thinking, the thought process should not be that these individuals are going back home to their parents. These are individuals who are well past the legal age of an adult set by our society and government and should be progressing toward an independent life. The state, who was once their guardian, has the responsibility to assist them in this “progress” and not be the cause for them to regress. Abrupt ending to their services will leave them in a vulnerable state with no resources to steer them toward independent living and ultimately be a hindrance to their success. Introduction The social issue that I am contending concerns the child welfare system in the state of Illinois. My issue is not regarding a particular policy but a lack of policy thereof. To be precise, my advocacy is for the “alumni” and graduates of the child welfare in Illinois. In turn, my issue would be directed towards the child welfare policy(s) of the state and a lack of policy for services to be provided for graduates from the child welfare system, particularly those over the age of 21. Usually, after the age of 21, the services that the “youth- in care” receives from the state are terminated and they are deemed independent. The youth that gain admission to college and are “academically advantaged”/ “gifted” have relatively no difficulty, as they are capable of obtaining a job by this age in conjunction with a degree. Some youth gain stable employment at 18, which usually means they have the resources to independent. The problem lies in the other group of people who do not have sufficient employment or a college education. When this specific group is terminated of services from the state, they basically become homeless, or in a very deprived state and have no clue where to go in life. Proposed Solution: A solution to having services in place for graduates of the child welfare system is very challenging especially considering the stances of social services at this time, namely in the state of Illinois under the governorship of Bruce Rauner. However, given my passion on the issue and the dire need for a policy to be put in place for these youths a solution proposal is essential. As stated before, Illinois has a myriad of laws on Child Welfare and a lot of Amendments. From a review of the child welfare policy manual, one can see the cluster of Amendments that have been added. I am stating that an amendment needs to be added to the child welfare policy manual that will specifically address and solve the matter of Alumni Services in the state of Illinois. As stated before, the HB4054 is the bill in the state of Illinois is the bill which addresses the “Foster Youth Successful Transition to Adulthood Act” which concerns the Youth-in-Care that transition to independence. An Amendment that is added to this should address services to be provided to graduates of the DCFS system. These services include, finding stable work, assistance in finding a home and necessary funding to stay in the home until they can independently do so with their own income and also emotional and psychological support for them. Although the end goal is for there to be an amendment which leads to services for these youth, a societal change is also due. Our mindsets are in a way that “there are already enough services” put in place for these individuals but the truth is that we as humans, for the sake of humanity itself need to have sustained empathy and sympathy to these individuals that were forsaken or given up by their own families and are basically forced to take on an independent life in an abrupt manner. Most of us have parents, or some type of guardian as our support system whereas, these individuals that are a part of the “system” gets spit out by the system and thus, resulting in an abrupt and unexpected end to their source of help.

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