Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0403
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Full Text of SR0403  101st General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The Foster Children's Bill of Rights Act (20 ILCS
3521/1) gives every child and adult in the care of the
4Department of Children and Family Services the right: "[t]o
5have caregivers and child welfare personnel who have received
6instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating
7to, and best practices for, providing adequate care to lesbian,
8gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in out-of-home care[; …]
9[t]o have fair and equal access to all available services,
10placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not be
11subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of
12actual or perceived…sexual orientation, [or] gender identity
13[; …] [t]o receive medical…, and mental health services[; …
14and] [t]o receive a copy of [the Foster Children Bill of
15Rights] from and have it fully explained by the Department of
16Children and Family Services when the child or adult is placed
17in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services";
19    WHEREAS, CFS form 496-1 (Revised July 2018), the Illinois
20Foster Child and Youth Bill of Rights, further provides
21specific requirements for when the Department of Children and
22Family Services must provide children and youth with a copy of
23these Rights and states that children and youth have the right
24to "be placed in out-of-home care according to [the child or



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1youth's] gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex
2listed in their court or child welfare records[; and] be
3provided appropriate clothing that fits and corresponds to [the
4child or youth's] gender identity"; and
5    WHEREAS, The Family First Prevention and Services Act of
6the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law No. 115-123)
7became federal law on February 9, 2018, steering the child
8welfare system towards much needed reform and re-calibration of
9policies to: "provide enhanced support to children and families
10and prevent foster care placements" and, if safety necessitates
11removal, provides children with loving foster homes rather than
12congregate care settings; address disparities known to child
13welfare experts, such as the overrepresentation of youth who
14are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning in the
15child welfare system overall and the system overreliance on
16congregate care settings for these youth, which typically yield
17worse outcomes for them compared to their cisgender and
18heterosexual peers; recruit, retain, and support homes that are
19affirming of a youth-in-care's sexual orientations and gender
20identity and establish a system of accountability if homes are
21not providing affirming care; and, protect Lesbian, Gay,
22Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth from being
23unnecessarily diagnosed to meet clinical criteria required for
24residential care or from facing increased risk of involvement
25in the justice system as a result of the Family First



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1Prevention and Services Act implementation; and
2    WHEREAS, The Children and Family Services Act (20 ILCS
3505/5.25) requires the Department of Children and Family
4Services to provide every child in its care with "the necessary
5behavioral health services", including "behavioral health
6services from an outside provider when those services are
7necessary to meet the child's needs and the child wishes to
8receive them"; and
9    WHEREAS, The Department of Children and Family Services is
10required by the Children and Family Services Act (20 ILCS
11505/7) to place children in its care in safe and adequate
12placements consistent with each child's health, safety, and
13best interests; and
14    WHEREAS, The Department of Children and Family Services has
15adopted rules, entitled "Placement Selection Criteria", (89
16Ill. Adm. Code Part 301.60) that provide that "all placement
17decisions will be made consistent with the safety, best
18interests and special needs of the child" and that
19consideration shall be given to "the least restrictive setting
20appropriate for the child which most closely approximates a
21family"; and
22    WHEREAS, The Department of Children and Family Services is



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1the party to a federal court consent decree (B.H. et al., 88 C
25599, N.D. ILL) that provides that Children shall: be free from
3foreseeable and preventable harm[;]…receive at least minimally
4adequate healthcare [including] mental health care adequate to
5address their serious mental health needs[;] be free from
6unreasonable and unnecessary intrusions by DCFS upon their
7emotional and psychological well being" and that the Department
8shall maintain a system which provides: "that children will be
9timely and stably placed in safe and appropriate living
10arrangements[;]…for the prompt identification of the medical,
11mental health and developmental needs of children[;] timely
12access to adequate medical, mental and developmental
13services[; and] that children receive adequate services to
14assist in the transition to adulthood"; and
15    WHEREAS, The Illinois Human Rights Act (755 ILCS 5)
16protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual
17orientation and gender identity in places of public
18accommodation, including the Department of Children and Family
19Services and its contracted providers; and
20    WHEREAS, People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
21Transgender, Questioning or Queer are subjected to violence and
22discrimination because of who they are or who they love; and
23    WHEREAS, Gender dysphoria is a serious and internationally



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1recognized medical condition that requires immediate medical
2attention from a medical professional experienced in its
3treatment; and
4    WHEREAS, On May 11, 2017 the Department of Children and
5Family Services updated Appendix K to Procedures 302 "Support
6and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and
7Questioning (LGBTQ) Children and Youth" (P.T. 2017.04) which,
8among other things: (1) recognizes that LGBTQ children/youth
9are at higher risk than their heterosexual cisgender
10counterparts for emotional and physical abuse from family
11members and/or peers, failed out-of-home placements,
12homelessness, emotional/physical victimization, and/or
13institutional neglect or abuse; (2) states DCFS' policy is to
14maintain and promote safe and affirming environments for LGBTQ
15children and youth; (3) applies to anybody in contact with
16children/youth in DCFS care (e.g., DCFS staff, employees of
17contractors, volunteers, foster parents, etc.); (4) prohibits
18caregivers from engaging in any discrimination against or
19mistreatment of LGBTQ children and youth; (5) requires
20caregivers to affirm and support an LGBTQ child/youth's sexual
21orientation and gender identity, including by: (a) using the
22child/youth's preferred name and gender pronouns (including
23gender-neutral pronouns, such as "they/them"), including in
24written documents and records when the youth agrees; (b)
25respecting the child/youth's choice of clothes, make-up,



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1hairstyle, friends, and activities; and (c) providing support
2to LGBTQ youth who are experiencing problems related to their
3sexual orientation or gender identity in the community,
4including schools where transgender youth may need help
5requesting permission to use gendered facilities such as
6restrooms or locker rooms; (6) prohibits placing a child or
7youth in congregate care because of their sexual orientation or
8gender identity; (7) prohibits placing LGBTQ youth somewhere
9they will not be affirmed and requires immediate corrective
10action if a youth is not being affirmed; (8) provides that
11children/youth should generally be housed based on their gender
12identity, rather than their birth assigned gender, and a
13child/youth's perception of where they should be placed and
14would feel safest should be the primary factor in informing
15housing decisions; (9) states that LGBTQ children and youth
16have the right to receive LGBTQ competent medical care and
17sexual health education, including continuation of hormone
18therapy for transgender youth who were receiving it before
19entering DCFS care, and that youth who request hormone therapy
20while in DCFS care (who were not receiving such care prior to
21entering DCFS custody) should be referred to medical
22professionals who are recognized as medically competent in the
23care of transgender youth; (10) requires caregivers to respect
24the privacy of a child/youth's sexual orientation and gender
25identity and not disclose this information without the
26child/youth's permission; and (11) mandates annual training in



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1LGBTQ competent care for every person in contact with
2children/youth in DCFS care; and
3    WHEREAS, There has been little to no public information
4offered about the Department of Children and Family Services'
5implementation of Appendix K to Procedure 302, or whether there
6is any oversight process to ensure accountability and
7compliance with the requirements of Appendix K to Procedure 302
8so that the needs of youth identifying as Lesbian, Gay,
9Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) are being
10addressed systematically by the Department of Children and
11Family Services and its contractors, or whether any efforts are
12having an impact on disparate outcomes, division of duties
13during staffing vacancies for allocated positions, or whether
14State resources are being sufficiently allocated and spent to
15properly implement Appendix K; and
16    WHEREAS, The General Assembly requires reliable
17information to guide funding decisions, perform its oversight
18capacity, and make sound legislative and administrative
19recommendations; therefore, be it
21ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that the Auditor General is
22directed to conduct a performance audit of the Department of
23Children and Family Services' compliance with its obligations



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1to protect and affirm children and youth who are lesbian, gay,
2bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer; and be it further;
3    RESOLVED, That the audit shall include, but not be limited
4to, examining the operations and management of the Department
5of Children and Family Services and its contractors to perform
6its duties in accordance with the Foster Children's Bill of
7Rights Act (20 ILCS 521/1) and Appendix K to Procedures 302
8"Support and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
9and Questioning (LGBTQ) Children and Youth" (P.T. 2017.04) as
11        (1)The Department of Children and Family Services'
12    implementation of and adherence to Appendix K to Procedure
13    302 and the Foster Children's Bill of Rights;
14        (2)The Department of Children and Family Services'
15    contractors' implementation of and adherence to Appendix K
16    of Procedure 302 and the Foster Children's Bill of Rights;
17        (3)How and with what frequency the Department of
18    Children and Family Services and its contractors'
19    employees are trained on sexual orientation, gender
20    identity, and the requirements of Appendix K, and whether
21    the training is sufficient to demonstrate appropriate
22    application to fieldwork;
23        (4)How employee and contract oversight ensure
24    accountability and corrective actions;
25        (5)The method by which the Department of Children and



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1    Family Services assesses, monitors, and acts to make
2    certain its contracted providers have adopted
3    LGBTQ-affirming, nondiscrimination policies that are at
4    least as extensive as Appendix K, including policies
5    providing for employee discipline up to and including
6    termination and for conduct in violation of the
7    non-discrimination policy;
8        (6)The methods by which information about youth
9    gender-identity is sought, the format and locations in
10    which this information is maintained, and the practices
11    utilized for privacy protections;
12        (7)Actions taken by the Department of Children and
13    Family Services and its contractors in licensing to require
14    foster parents' commitment to provide care and homes that
15    are affirming of all children and youth, regardless of
16    sexual orientation or gender identity;
17        (8)The process by which the Department of Children and
18    Family Services ensures that children or youth who identify
19    as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or
20    queer are matched with placements that are affirming of
21    those youths' sexual orientation and gender identity; and
22        (9)The current gap in placement and service capacity to
23    meet needs and efforts made to recruit homes affirming of
24    lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning or
25    queer children and youth; and be it further



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1    RESOLVED, That the audit include, but not be limited to,
2the following determinations as they pertain to children (up to
3the age of 21) in the care of the Department of Children and
4Family Services in calendar years 2017 and 2018:
5        (1)Whether youth in care are made aware of their rights
6    and know how to report violations of these rights, the
7    experiences of youth who have reported violations,
8    recommendations made by youth in care to improve their
9    ability to meaningfully exercise their rights, and how the
10    Department of Children and Family Services incorporates
11    such recommendations in policy development;
12        (2)The number of youth in care identifying as (a)
13    lesbian, (b) gay, (c) bisexual, (d) transgender, (e)
14    questioning, (f) gender non-conforming, (g) another
15    minority sexual orientation or gender identity, or (g) more
16    than one of the aforementioned identifications during the
17    review period;
18        (3)For each youth in subsection (2), the length of stay
19    in out-of-home care, case permanency goals, frequency of
20    sibling visitation, as applicable;
21        (4)For each youth in subsection (2), the number, type,
22    and duration of each placement designated foster home,
23    group home, residential treatment center, detention or
24    correctional setting, psychiatric hospital, transitional
25    living program, or shelter home; whether and how the youth
26    in care participated in placement planning and



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1    determination; whether and how gender identity was
2    considered for placement selection and whether the youth
3    was placed according to their gender identity (as opposed
4    to their sex assigned at birth as reflected on their birth
5    certificate); reasons for placement disruptions, if
6    applicable;
7        (5)For each youth in subsection (2), the number of each
8    incident categorized as running away, contact with police
9    or the justice system, crisis hospitalization,
10    hospitalization beyond medical necessity, reported victim
11    of assault, school-related disciplinary infractions,
12    school-related bullying or harassment, removal from a
13    placement at the request of a provider or caregiver,
14    removal from a placement at the request of the youth,
15    subject of abuse or neglect allegations while in
16    out-of-home care, detained in a correctional setting
17    beyond release due to lack of identified placement;
18        (6)Whether the youth in subsection (2) were provided
19    opportunities to engage in normalcy activities (e.g.,
20    participation in activities typical of their peer and age
21    group) consistent with their gender identity;
22        (7)Whether the data findings for subsections (1), (3),
23    (4), (5), (6) differ from that of the general population of
24    youth in care or whether the data differs based on the
25    geographic placement of the youth in care;
26        (8)The number of providers designated as clinically



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1    appropriate to provide housing or services to youth who
2    identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or
3    questioning available to youth in care and the number of
4    youth utilizing those providers for services or supports;
5        (9)The number of transgender youth in care who have
6    requested (whether formally or informally)
7    transition-related hormone therapy or consultation
8    services regarding this treatment; the number of youth the
9    Department of Children and Family Services did not refer
10    for treatment, the qualifications of staff making the
11    determination, and justification; the number of youth who
12    received their requested care and whether this was
13    delivered by a qualified provider; and the length of time
14    from the youth's request to a service referral being made
15    to referral resulting in service delivery; and information
16    regarding barriers to service access, bureaucratic
17    hierarchy and hurdles, and efforts made to address these
18    issues; and
19        (10)The number of youth in care in need of treatment
20    for gender dysphoria and how this need is identified; the
21    number of youth the Department of Children and Family
22    Services did not refer for treatment, the qualifications of
23    staff making the determination, and justification; the
24    number of youth receiving this care and whether it was
25    provided by a qualified clinician; the length of time from
26    need being identified to service referral being made to



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1    referral resulting in service delivery; and information
2    regarding barriers to service access, bureaucratic
3    hierarchy and hurdles, and efforts made to address these
4    issues; and be it further
5    RESOLVED, That the Department of Children and Family
6Services shall cooperate fully and promptly with the Auditor
7General's Office in conducting this audit; and be it further
8    RESOLVED, That the Auditor General commence this audit as
9soon as possible and distribute the report upon completion in
10accordance with Section 3-14 of the Illinois State Auditing