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AN ACT concerning health.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
This Act may be cited as the
Illinois Youth in Care Timely Provision of Essential Care Act.
The General Assembly finds that:
(1) From 2013 to 2018 more than 500 in-state
residential treatment beds were eliminated for youth in
the care of the Department of Children and Family Services
with serious and ongoing mental health needs.
(2) Development of evidence-based alternatives to
residential treatment, such as therapeutic foster care and
multi-dimensional treatment foster care, has not met the
need caused by the elimination of more than 500
residential treatment beds.
(3) Quality residential treatment, evidence-based
therapeutic foster care, and specialized foster care are
critical components of the system of care for youth in the
care of the Department.
(4) It is imperative that children identified as
requiring residential treatment, therapeutic foster care,
or specialized foster care receive that treatment in a
timely and competent fashion.
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(5) One significant barrier to the development of new
residential treatment beds has been the ability to attract
and retain qualified staff.
(6) Community-based providers have a 42%-50% annual
staff turnover rate for caseworkers, supervisors,
therapists, and residential staff.
(7) High rates of staff turnover are directly linked
to poor outcomes for children and youth in care, including
increased lengths of stay, which especially hurt black
children as they are 3 times more likely to languish in
(8) Due to the lack of in-state residential treatment
beds, evidence-based alternatives, and quality specialized
foster homes for youth in care:
(A) Youth in care are waiting long periods of
times in temporary settings where they often receive
inadequate treatment to address their highly acute
needs. The temporary settings also force youth to
experience placement changes that are only necessary
because of the lack of critical beds.
(B) Youth in care are left in locked inpatient
psychiatric units beyond the time that they clinically
need to be hospitalized ("beyond medical necessity")
because the outpatient placement resources they need
are not available. In State Fiscal Year 2022, youth
who were beyond medical necessity remained in
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psychiatric hospitals for an average of 75 days longer
than they needed to be in the hospital because of the
lack of placement resources. These stays cause
irreparable harm to youth.
(C) Youth in care identified as needing inpatient
psychiatric care are being denied admission to
inpatient psychiatric units due to the risk that the
youth will not have a placement to discharge to when
they are ready for discharge.
(D) Youth in care are being sent to out-of-state
residential facilities where it is more difficult to
monitor safety and well-being and more costly and
challenging to facilitate achievement of their
Improving access to residential treatment,
evidence-based alternatives to residential treatment, and
specialized foster care.
The Department of Children and
Family Services shall develop a written, strategic plan that
comprehensively addresses improving timely access to quality
in-state residential treatment, evidence-based alternatives to
residential treatment, and specialized foster care for youth
in the care of the Department who have significant emotional,
behavioral, and medical needs. The planning process must be
transparent and allow for stakeholder input.
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The strategic plan developed
by the Department of Children and Family Services shall be
finalized and made public no later than one year after the
effective date of this Act. The strategic plan shall be
revised within 6 months after the rate study required under
Section 35.11 of the Children and Family Services Act is
complete and available for review, and the Department shall
incorporate the rate study's recommendations into the
strategic plan. The strategic plan shall include:
(1) Benchmarks and a timeline for implementing each
provision of the plan.
(2) Strategy for obtaining resources needed to
implement each provision of the plan.
(3) Ongoing stakeholder engagement during the
implementation of the plan.