A new law aimed at improving the safety of transportation for foster children was signed into law on Friday. The legislation was sponsored by State Representative Amy Elik (R-Fosterburg) on behalf of a local foster parent following concerns shared with her about the safety of children under the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
“I knew something had to be done when a constituent shared with me that foster children were either not being picked up on time or not being picked up at all by transportation providers,” said Rep. Elik. “Children under state care depend on transportation providers that will pick them up on time. There is no excuse for our youth in care to be left without a ride home.”
Public Act 102-795 sponsored by Rep. Elik provides that transportation services to children and families must comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations. Drivers must submit to a fingerprint-based criminal background check. New changes also include proper training for drivers on the installation and operation of a child car seat, possession of a valid driver’s license and an adequate driving record, proof of insurance, and proper vehicle maintenance. Furthermore, the transportation agency must provide specified information for the purposes of communication during the scheduled transport to make sure a child always has a ride home.
Rep. Elik added, “At a minimum, kids under state care should expect and receive a safe ride home. This new law will ensure common-sense safety measures are required for all drivers providing transportation to children under state care and that no child will be forgotten. There are many ongoing failures at DCFS that need to be fixed, this is one of many that will be made right.”