DEERFIELD – Nearly two months after thousands of children under the Department of Children and Family Service’s care were transitioned to a new health care program, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) led a hearing to discuss how the transition went and what changes still need to be made to the program.


“While I’m pleased thousands of children have received better care, more must be done to make sure every child in the DCFS system receives adequate health care regardless of ZIP code or family background,” Morrison said. “Foster families have already sacrificed so much to take care of our state’s most vulnerable children. They shouldn’t have to consider uprooting their families to find local, quality care.”

The hearing comes after more than 19,000 foster children transitioned to the new Medicaid managed care program – YouthCare – in September, following nearly a year of delays. People who were formerly in the care of the state’s foster program were transitioned to the new health care program in February, but the transition for current foster children was put on pause in an effort for them to receive a smooth transition.

Youth were transitioned into managed care to improve their health care through coordination and better continuity of care. A number of benefits outlined by the state agency include the network being more than three times larger than the former provider, more help for families navigating the health care system and a health care coordinator being assigned to each child.

However, following September’s roll out, concerns were raised after some families were forced to find new providers, leaving them frustrated as they waited for answers and their children were without care. Additionally, a number of families who live in more rural areas have struggled to find in-network providers near their homes, causing them to drive up to three hours to get their children the care they need. 

“Today’s hearing was the first step toward tackling issues with YouthCare in an effort to make sure every child gets the care they need and deserve,” Morrison said. “Together, through communication and a willingness to put children’s health first, Illinois can soon have some of the most robust care for children in need.”