DHS HearingSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield), vice-chairwoman of the Senate Human Services Committee, questioned leaders with the Department of Human Services (DHS) today over the recent Chicago Tribune investigative report highlighting improperly handled cases of abuse and neglect at group homes across the state.

The series, titled ‘Suffering in Secret,’ found allegations of abuse cover-ups and a complete lack of transparency that left the public and family members of abused group home residents in the dark.

“I am very disturbed by reports of abuse and neglect of some of our most vulnerable residents,” Morrison said. “It is the state’s responsibility to ensure there is sufficient oversight of these centers and that policies exist to effectively prevent and respond to the very serious allegations in this report. It is more than obvious the state failed these vulnerable residents.” 

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Illinois CapitolSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) responded this afternoon after voting to override the governor’s veto of a plan to institute automatic voter registration in Illinois.

“Streamlining our voter registration process saves local governments money, decreases the risk of voter fraud and has the potential to expand citizen’s voice in our democracy,” Morrison said. “It is important the state take advantage of rapid advancements in technology that increase government efficiencies and strengthen the core of our democracy.”

Senate Bill 250, co-sponsored by Senator Morrison, would move Illinois into an opt-out voter registration system instead of the current opt-in system, meaning residents would be automatically registered to vote when visiting the Secretary of State’s office and similar state agencies for services.

Four states, including California, Oregon, West Virginia and Vermont, have implemented automatic voter registration systems and have realized significant savings for local and state governments.

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Illinois State CapitolSPRINGFIELD – Every year, the State of Illinois receives billions of dollars in federal money that helps offset the cost of everything from school funding to health care services for low-income residents. The federal funds do not appear automatically, however, as state agencies must apply for available grants to receive the funds.

At a time when there is increased pressure on the state budget, State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) has introduced a plan that would ensure the state is taking full advantage of all available federal grants.

“Common sense dictates the state maximize the use of available federal dollars during these tough fiscal times,” Morrison said. “It is nothing short of wasteful for the state to be passing up these funds.”

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MorrisonCmteCHICAGO – After a series of high-profile media reports highlighted failures within the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to protect abused children, State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) passed a law reforming the troubled agency. 

Part of Morrison’s efforts included an audit of DCFS to ensure children in the agency’s care do not remain in psychiatric hospitals, emergency shelters or detention centers for longer periods of time than necessary.

The findings of the audit, which were released in September and were the subject of a Human Services Committee hearing today in Chicago, found DCFS did not track and could not provide the majority of the data requested.

“For too long, DCFS operated with antiquated technologies and insufficient oversight that allowed some of our most troubled youth to slip through the cracks,” Morrison said. “While there has been progress made on a number of fronts, there is still much work to be done to ensure that no child who has been abused or neglected gets left behind by the state.”

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