Rockford, Illinois News

New bill would stop DCFS from taking kids from domestic violence survivors

ROCKFORD — A new bill would help keep children with their parents in domestic abuse cases.

House Bill 3877 was introduced by Illinois Rep. Dave Vella, D-68. It prevents the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) from taking children away from parents who are domestic abuse survivors.

Currently, children of survivors can be taken from parents when domestic abuse is reported because it can be determined the children are in a dangerous environment. Under Vella’s bill, a child would remain in their home until it’s found that the child is being abused or neglected; the DCFS Inspector General’s Office must accept those findings before parental custody is terminated.

“It is unconscionable that children are able to be taken away from a parent due to the parent being a victim of domestic abuse,” Vella said. “It is our job to support those who are victims of abuse, not punish them by tearing their family apart. Not only is it unacceptable to punish abuse victims by taking their kids away, but our current system actually incentivizes abuse victims to not report their abuse out of fear their children could be taken from them,” said Vella. “It is past time that we change these policies and make our state agencies work with domestic abuse survivors, not against them.”

Vella also introduced Illinois House Bill 734, legislation filed last month that would make orders of protection permanent in certain cases.

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