Welcome to my legislative website! I am proud to serve as the State Senator from Illinois' 29th District, representing portions of the North Suburbs of Chicago in Lake and Cook Counties.

It is truly my honor to represent you in Springfield. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with questions or ways I can better serve you.


Julie Morrison

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SPRINGFIELD – Today, the governor signed a set of new laws sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison’s (D-Deerfield) that will improve the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the Department of Children and Family Services.

“DCFS is the last line of defense for abused and neglected children,” Morrison said. “We should be able to expect nothing but the best from this critically important agency.”

The new laws include:

  • Senate Bill 3009 – Requires DCFS to make annual reports to the General Assembly about the effectiveness of its day care licensing system, which serves more than 300,000 children.
  • Senate Bill 3217 – Requires the Illinois Children’s Justice Task Force to develop recommendations for a multidisciplinary team approach for investigating child abuse allegations. During a series of hearings last year, leading pediatricians recommended creating these teams of DCFS investigators, law enforcement, doctors and other relevant professionals.
  • Senate Bill 3421 – Encourages required reporters of child abuse to complete training every five years. Mandated reporters include teachers and other education professionals, doctors and other medical professionals, and other people who work in fields that require them to have frequent contact with children.

The keystone of the package is Senate Bill 2909, which strengthens DCFS’ safety plans. These plans are put in place when DCFS investigators determine that allegations of abuse or neglect are serious but do not yet warrant custody or foster care. The requirements of these plans vary, but they can involve moving the child to the home of a relative like a grandparent or aunt, requiring one or more members of the household to temporarily leave the home, or requiring another family member to temporarily move in and supervise.

During a series of hearings Morrison hosted in late 2013 and early 2014, she learned some of Illinois’ child welfare organizations, including the Family Defense Center, are concerned with DCFS’ implementation of safety plans. These organizations believe DCFS fails to put some plans in writing, never reviews others and fails to provide important information to the adults involved in the plans.

Morrison’s legislation requires DCFS to provide written copies of each safety plan to the adult caregivers named in the plan. Both the caregivers and the child protection supervisor must sign each plan, and the department must keep these signed documents on file. DCFS must also supply each caregiver with a list of rights and responsibilities under the plans.

“They’re called ‘safety plans’ because their purpose is to keep endangered children safe from harm,” Morrison said. “If DCFS doesn’t keep the plans on file or follow up with the families, how safe can the children really be? These reforms should help restore accountability for this vital program.”

Category: Features

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