HumanServicesHearingSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) convened the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday afternoon to seek solutions to the continuing problem of Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) youth being held longer than medically necessary in psychiatric hospitals across the state.

“Abused or neglected children with mental health conditions should receive the care they need and transition to an outpatient or residential setting as soon as possible,” Morrison said. “Languishing in a psychiatric hospital can cause affirmative harm for a child. The state must do a much better job caring for these vulnerable children.”

In June, a ProPublica Illinois report analyzed records from the DCFS and found nearly 30 percent of children in the care of the DCFS who were hospitalized were held longer than medically necessary in a psychiatric hospital. The report found of these children, 15 percent had to wait two months or longer.

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babies 081518SPRINGFIELD – Illinois newborns will now be tested for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) under a proposal passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that was signed into law on Tuesday.

“Medical advancements have made all the difference in treating this horrific disease that affects our youngest children,” Morrison said. “Including testing for SMA in regular newborn screenings will ensure treatment can begin immediately to prevent the disease from progressing and causing life-time harm or even death.”

Morrison’s new law, passed under Senate Bill 456, requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to test for SMA during the newborn screening test. The department is required by the new law to begin testing by 2020 at the latest.

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imagesSPRINGFIELD – Every school bus in Illinois carrying children will now be required to use the stop signal arm and flashing signal lights under a proposal signed into law today that was passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) earlier this year.

Current state law gives an exception and even prohibits school buses from using the safety technology if students are not being transported to school or if the bus is not being used for specific youth camp or child care purposes.

“Any school bus transporting children should without exception be using the safety equipment already installed,” Morrison said. “This is an example of state bureaucracy getting in the way of common sense.”

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LiquidMedicineSPRINGFIELD – A proposal by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that would allow home nurses and members of law enforcement to safely dispose of unused liquid medication was signed into law on Friday.

“A key component in our fight against the opioid crisis is limiting access to highly addictive painkillers and other drugs,” Morrison said. “While we have seen success in combating doctor shopping and the over-prescribing of opioids, we must also ensure leftover painkillers – especially in home health situations – are disposed of and not readily available for potential abuse.”

The new law, passed under House Bill 1338, would expand the ability of nurses and law enforcement to properly dispose of leftover medications.

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