Full Text of HB3002 103rd General Assembly
HB3002 103RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY
103RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2023 and 2024
Introduced 2/16/2023, by Rep. Patrick Windhorst
SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
Creates the Department of Children and Family Services Independent
Ombudsperson Act. Establishes the Department of Children and Family
Services Ombudsperson Bureau as a separate
bureau within the Department of
Children and Family Services (Department). Requires the Governor to
appoint a Bureau
Director within 30 days after the effective date of the
Act. Provides that the
Governor shall appoint a successor Bureau Director
within 30 days
after a vacancy occurs in the position of the Bureau
Director. Provides that the Bureau Director may employ technical experts
employees to carry out the purposes of the Act, but shall not
hire a person to serve as an Ombudsperson who has been
employed by the
Department during the preceding year. Provides that the Ombudsperson may
receive, investigate, and attempt
to resolve complaints that the
Department or a foster parent:
(1) violated a specific law, rule, or
written policy; or
(2) endangered the health or safety of any
person. Provides that at the conclusion of an investigation of a
the Ombudsperson shall report the Ombudsperson's findings to
complainant. Requires the Ombudsperson to create a monthly report that
includes a summary of the findings of all substantiated complaints.
Contains provisions authorizing the Ombudsperson to conduct investigations
violations of Department policy and rules at any Department
facility; to make recommendations for changes to Department policies or
practices; to report evidence of a crime to law enforcement; and other
powers and duties of the Ombudsperson. Requires the Department to provide
the Ombudsperson with timely access to Department records and facilities
relevant to a complaint or investigation. Grants the Bureau rulemaking
authority. Requires the Director of the Bureau to prepare annual reports
on its operations. Makes it a Class A misdemeanor to obstruct an
Ombudsperson in the performance of the Ombudsperson's duties.
A BILL FOR
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AN ACT concerning children.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
This Act may be cited as the
Department of Children and Family Services Independent
As used in this Act:
"Bureau" means the Department of Children and Family
Services Ombudsperson Bureau established in this Act,
including persons approved to act in the capacity of
Ombudsperson by the Bureau.
"Department" means the Department of Children and Family
"Ombudsperson" means an employee of the Bureau who
investigates and resolves complaints that the Department
endangered the health and safety of any person or that the
Department violated specific laws, rules, or written policies.
Department of Children and Family Services
The Department of Children and Family
Services Ombudsperson Bureau is established as a separate
bureau within the Department.
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Director of the Bureau; employees.
(a) The Governor shall appoint a Director of the Bureau
within 30 days after the effective date of this Act. The
Governor shall appoint a successor Director within 30 days
after a vacancy occurs in the position of the Director of the
Bureau. The Director of the Bureau shall serve at the pleasure
of the Governor.
(b) The Director of the Bureau may employ technical
experts and other employees to carry out the purposes of this
Act. The Director of the Bureau may not hire a person to serve
as an Ombudsperson who has been employed by the Department
during the preceding year.
(c) The Department shall provide and maintain office space
for the Bureau.
Powers of Ombudsperson.
(a) The Ombudsperson may receive, investigate, and attempt
to resolve complaints that the Department or a foster parent:
(1) violated a specific law, rule, or Department
written policy; or
(2) endangered the health or safety of any person.
However, the Ombudsperson shall not investigate a
complaint from an employee of the Department that relates to
the employee's employment relationship with the Department.
The Ombudsperson shall not investigate complaints alleging
violations of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. If
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the Ombudsperson determines that a possible violation of the
State Officials and Employees Ethics Act has occurred, the
Ombudsperson shall immediately refer the incident to the
Office of the Inspector General.
(b) At the conclusion of an investigation of a complaint,
the Ombudsperson shall report the Ombudsperson's findings to
(c) If the Ombudsperson does not investigate a complaint,
the Ombudsperson shall notify the complainant of the decision
not to investigate and the reasons for the decision.
(d) The Ombudsperson shall create a monthly report that
includes a summary of the findings of all substantiated
(e) The Ombudsperson may conduct investigations of alleged
violations of Department policy, State or federal laws, and
Department rules at any Department facility.
(f) The Ombudsperson may recommend changes to the Director
of the Department concerning Department policies or practices
based upon information learned or observations made by the
Ombudsperson during the course of an investigation.
(g) If the Ombudsperson discovers evidence that the
Ombudsperson reasonably believes constitutes the commission of
a crime, the Ombudsperson shall immediately inform the
Director of the Department, who shall conduct an
investigation. If, after conducting the investigation, the
Director of the Department has reasonable suspicion to believe
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that a crime has been committed, the Director of the
Department shall immediately report the evidence to the
appropriate law enforcement agency. If the Ombudsperson
reasonably believes that waiting for an investigation would
pose a serious risk to the health or safety of any person, the
Ombudsperson shall immediately report the evidence directly to
the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Access to records and facilities.
(a) The Department shall timely provide an Ombudsperson
appropriate access to all Department records and facilities
relevant to the complaint or investigation.
(b) A State or local governmental agency or entity that
has records that are relevant to a complaint or an
investigation conducted by the Ombudsperson shall provide the
Ombudsperson with access to the records.
Duties of Ombudsperson.
(a) The Ombudsperson shall:
(1) establish procedures to receive and investigate
(2) establish access controls for all information
maintained by the Bureau; and
(3) except as is necessary to investigate and resolve
a complaint, ensure that the identity of a complainant
will not be disclosed without:
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(A) the complainant's written consent; or
(B) a court order.
(b) The correspondence and communication between the
Ombudsperson and any person is a privileged communication.
(a) The Bureau may adopt rules to carry out its duties
under this Act.
(b) The Ombudsperson is not civilly liable for the good
faith performance of the Ombudsperson's official duties.
The Director of the Bureau shall
prepare a report each year on its operations. A copy of the
report shall be provided to the Governor, the General
Assembly, and the Director of the Department.
Obstruction of the Ombudsperson.
(a) A person commits obstruction of the Ombudsperson when
(1) intentionally interferes with or prevents the
completion of the work of the Ombudsperson;
(2) knowingly offers compensation to the Ombudsperson
in an effort to affect the outcome of an investigation or a
(3) knowingly or intentionally retaliates against a
person who provides information to the Ombudsperson; or
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(4) makes threats because of an investigation or
potential investigation against:
(A) the Ombudsperson;
(B) a person who has filed a complaint; or
(C) a person who provides information to the
(b) Sentence. Obstruction of the Ombudsperson is a Class A