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SPRINGFIELD – To stop the disproportionate impact of financial responsibilities on families in the foster care system, State Senator Lakesia Collins advanced a measure that would include family circumstances as part of the determination process when evaluating parents’ ability to pay for the cost of foster care.

“Right now, parents can be held responsible for more than they can afford to pay, causing reunification efforts to be significantly delayed,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “If we want to focus our efforts on reunifying families, then we cannot overload the financial responsibility for care on parents who cannot afford it despite giving their best efforts.”

Senate Bill 3367 would make parents of children living in foster care responsible only for the cost of the foster care if the Department of Children and Family Services has conducted a thorough, individualized review of the family’s circumstances and found that payment would not be contrary to the best interests of the child and would not harm reunification efforts.

The bill would also ensure no parent pays for the cost of foster care if their household income is less than the greater of $100,000 or 400% of the federal poverty guidelines, or around $81,760 for a two-person household.

“We can make a huge difference in the lives of so many parents who are working hard to reunite with their children,” said Collins. “This legislation would give support to parents working with the system to provide for their kids, and I am proud to sponsor this bill.”

Senate Bill 3367 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and heads to the Senate Floor for further action.