Public Act 103-0273
HB0439 EnrolledLRB103 04009 CPF 49015 b

    AN ACT concerning health.
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
Illinois Youth in Care Timely Provision of Essential Care Act.
    Section 5. Findings. 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.
        (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
        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
        permanency goals.
    Section 10. 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.
    Section 15. Implementation. 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.

Effective Date: 1/1/2024