SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) championed a law signed Friday to divert the state’s vulnerable youth from juvenile justice systems or the Department of Children and Family Services’ care, while working to keep families together. 

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“Providing immediate on-site crisis intervention for vulnerable youth can be the difference between a spending their young life in a loving home or in the juvenile justice system,” Morrison. “This is an already successful program that we can take further advantage of to ensure children get the help and support they need.”

The law allows child welfare agencies under the Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Service Program to be licensed as host homes. When an issue with a child occurs, they can be temporarily removed from their household to receive the intervention they need. Giving vulnerable youth ages 11-17 the opportunity to get temporary assistance leads them to reunification with their families rather than being placed in the care of DCFS or becoming part of the juvenile justice system.

Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Service Programs – or CCYBS – designate community-based services to provide immediate crisis intervention programs to children who are homeless without parents, beyond control of their parents, have run away from home, have been locked out of their homes or are at risk of involvement with the child welfare or juvenile justice system.

CCYBS’ offer resources to ensure the safety of children, provide placement services and work with families on reunification – among other services – that can help get at-risk youth on the right track.

“Our top priority is ensuring we keep children in healthy, safe environments that will allow them to grow and prosper,” Morrison said. “By providing support, assistance and education to teens and their parents alike, we are helping them build positive family dynamics.”

House Bill 692 was signed into law Friday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Category: Latest News

NORTH CHICAGO – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is congratulating Rosalind Franklin University for being awarded $2 million in grants to build a state-of-the-art wet lab space.

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“As the past year has shown us, research and medicine are at the forefront of our everyday lives,” Morrison said. “The money granted to Rosalind Franklin will bolster research while bringing investments to the community.”

The North Chicago-based university was one of eight Illinois companies to be granted funds through the Wet Lab Capital program created under the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan. Rosalind Franklin University will use the more than $2 million allocated to create additional space in its Innovation and Research Park to advance research and medicine.

Wet labs are where cutting-edge research in life sciences occurs and represent a critical component of research and development for companies in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals/medicines, medical devices and diagnostics, research and manufacturing organizations, and more. Wet lab space is customized with ventilation and other infrastructure needed to handle chemicals and materials commonly associated with biotech research.

“We’re proud to partner with the state of Illinois on our vision for the Innovation and Research Park, which is establishing itself as a regional hub for healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Wendy Rheault, president and CEO of Rosalind Franklin University. “The DCEO is helping us propel a development that will have a significant economic regional impact. Working together in public/private partnership, we’re building a research enterprise that will benefit our university, our communities and our region for generations to come.”

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – When a child is in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services, they often don’t know where to turn for legal help – despite having court-appointed assistance. However, under a law signed Friday that was championed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest), they will finally have a clearer understanding of their options.

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“Our state’s most vulnerable population needs to know they have people who are there to help them every step of the way,” Morrison said. “The last thing foster families and children need during an already high-stress situation is to worry about how to handle their legal proceedings.”

Under the newly signed law, children in the care of DCFS, foster parents, caregivers or caseworkers can request the contact information of the child’s court-appointed guardian ad litem.

A guardian ad litem – or GAL – represents youth in care during court proceedings stemming from allegations a child was abused or neglected. However, of the 18,000 youth in care in Illinois, it is believed many don’t know how to contact their GAL or legal help regarding life-determining decisions.

“GALs play an important role in helping decide if a child should be removed from their family, if there have been sufficient efforts made to reunify a family, and whether parental rights should be terminated,” Morrison said. “Yet so many children and their caregivers don’t know where to turn for this kind of help. Today’s signing will give more of our vulnerable youth a better opportunity for a bright, safe future.”

Senate Bill 755 was signed Friday and takes immediate effect.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) offered the following statement after filing an updated ethics reform bill found within Senate Bill 2909:

"The ethics reform package (SB 539) passed in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly was a good step in the long overdue task of reforming rules and conduct of those of us who are elected to represent our constituents and make laws in Springfield. While I applaud these efforts, and recognize that this bill is an important beginning, I firmly believe reform measures need to go even further.  We senators and representatives must all be required to look ourselves squarely in the mirror and ask, "Am I acting in an honorable way that will bring trust to this legislative body I have been selected to serve?"

For so many years there has been a blurred line when legislators take official action on matters where they have a conflict of interest.  I am introducing legislation that would require disclosure of a conflict of interest on any legislation brought before the General Assembly, rather than merely suggesting that legislators "should" disclose a conflict, as is currently the case.  My legislation, SB 2909, would mandate that conflicts of interest be made public and that this disclosure be attached to the official record of the bill in question.  

Some of my colleagues may squirm at this proposal, others may say there is no practical way for elected officials to do this. To them, I say, please bring your ideas and concerns to me and let us work together to address the changes that need to be made.

Our constituents who send us to represent them in Springfield deserve nothing less. We must continue to build on the initial ethics bill and restore credibility and trust to those of us honored with the responsibility of representing our neighbors."

Category: Latest News

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