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  • NASW-IL Staff

March 2022: NASW-Illinois Chapter Advocacy Update

NASW-Illinois Chapter membership helps us to push for legislation that benefit Illinois social workers. As the largest membership association in Illinois advocating on behalf of social workers, consider adding your voice to our efforts and join/renew your NASW membership today.

As we approach the final weeks of Illinois’ 2022 legislative session, we wanted to give you an update on some legislation that might be of interest to our members and that the NASW-Illinois Chapter has been either working on to address issues with or supporting. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the late election cycle, this year’s legislative session has not been as robust as in the recent past—however, some really important legislation is still moving. Here is a sample of some of the bills currently moving in this session that we are supporting or opposing.

Some of the below bills will be discussed at greater length at our annual Advocacy Day taking place live virtually on Monday, March 21, 2022. We will have speakers ranging from Illinois Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly and Illinois State Senate President Don Harmon to this year's 2022 NASW-Illinois Chapter Legislators of the Year, State Senator Ann Gillespie and State Representative Jonathan Carroll. There is still time to register (and earn up to 3.0 CEUs) here.


SB 3761 – Sen. Ann Gillespie, Rep. Mark Walker

This bill builds on the Social Work Loan Forgiveness initiative the NASW-Illinois Chapter advocated for and passed last year. In addition to school social workers, the new bill adds social workers who work for a municipality (other than those that report to a law enforcement agency) to the eligibility list. As in the underlying law, this bill gives priority to minority candidates who are under-represented in the social work profession. NASW-IL supports this bill.

HB 4385, SB 3732, SB 3070, HB 4337, HB 4636 – Various Sponsors

These are a collection of bills the NASW-Illinois Chapter has opposed, ranging from reinstating the death penalty for assaulting a social worker to allowing child welfare social workers to carry guns into homes. Working with a coalition of organizations including the ACLU-Illinois, ICOY, Safer Foundation, and others, most of these bills seemed stalled. An exception appears to be the penalty enhancement bill, HB 4385, in the Illinois House that will not make social workers safer. NASW-IL continues to oppose these misguided bills.

HB 4797 – Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, Sen. Karina Villa

Creates a highly limited exception that allows nonresidents visiting Illinois or nonresident students of an Illinois university/college to continue to see their existing social work therapist licensed in the state they are a resident of. Current telehealth law requires you to be licensed where your client is physically present (not where they normally live), this bill just guarantees continuity of care for people visiting or attending school in Illinois. This is an NASW-Illinois Chapter Initiative that we fully support.

HB 4306 – Rep. Stephanie A. Kifowit, Sen. Julie A. Morrison

Creates the Holistic Mental Health Care for Youth in Care Task Force. Requires the Task Force to review and make recommendations regarding mental health and wellness services provided to youth in care, including a program for preventative mental health checkups. Provides that the Task Force shall also assess the capacity of state–licensed mental health professionals to provide preventive mental health care to youth in care; review the current payment rates for mental health providers serving the youth in care population; evaluate the recruitment and retention of mental health providers who are persons of color to serve the youth in care population; and perform other specified duties. NASW-Illinois Chapter has worked closely with the bill sponsors and fully supports this bill.

HB 5159 – Rep. Marcus Evans

Addresses inequity in the way Chicago Public Schools treats students living more than 1.5 miles away from their school. Requires CPS to cover transit fees for this population that other school districts would otherwise be required to pay for bussing to school. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

SB 3720 – Sen. Karina Villa, Rep. Carol Ammons

Creates the Bias-Free Child Removal Pilot Program Act. Provides that the purpose of the Act is to require the Department of Children and Family Services to establish a 3-year, Bias-Free Child Removal Pilot Program for the purpose of promoting unbiased decision-making in the child removal process while maintaining the safety of children and reducing risk, with the goal of decreasing the overrepresentation of BIPOC children in out-of-home placements. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

HB 4720 – Rep. Lamont Robinson

Creates a Human Service Professional Loan Repayment Program and appropriation. The program could pay up to $25,000 a year for qualified LCSWs working for state agencies in Illinois. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

SB 3889 – Sen. Meg Loughran Cappel, Rep. Natalie A. Manley

Amends the Children's Mental Health Act of 2003. Adds a requirement that the Children's Mental Health Plan include recommendations on how to more effectively meet the emergency and residential placement needs for all children with severe mental and behavioral challenges. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

SB 3149 – Sen. Celina Villanueva, Rep. Will Guzzardi

Requires the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to annually include information about the Child Care Assistance Program and the federal dependent care allowance in the language that schools are required to provide to students eligible for MAP grants. The goal of the bill is to make sure we are notifying students who qualify for child care assistance of existing programs. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

SB 3144 – Sen. Celina Villanueva, Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz

Creates a Task Force that shall investigate the implementation of universal representation for covered individuals in immigration removal proceedings. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

SB 3986 – Sen. Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas, Rep. Lindsey LaPointe

Prohibits the State Board of Education from developing, purchasing, or requiring a school district to administer, develop, or purchase a standardized assessment for students enrolled or preparing to enroll in pre-kindergarten through grade 2, other than for diagnostic purposes. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

SB 3490 – Sen. Karina Villa, Rep. Lakesia Collins

Creates the Illinois Commission on LGBTQ Aging to investigate, analyze, and study the health, housing, financial, psychosocial, home-and-community-based services, assisted living, and long-term care needs of LGBTQ older adults and their caregivers. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

SB 3470 – Sen. Robert Peters, Rep. Lakesia Collins

Provides that upon receiving temporary custody or guardianship of a youth in care, the Department of Children and Family Services shall assess the youth to determine whether the youth may be eligible for Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans benefits, or Railroad Retirement benefits. Provides that if, after the assessment, the Department determines that the youth may be eligible for such benefits, the Department shall ensure that an application is filed on behalf of the youth. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

HB 4392 – Rep. Carol Ammons, Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins

Provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall not deny a petition for expungement or sealing because the petitioner has submitted a drug test taken within 30 days before the filing of the petition for expungement or sealing that indicates a positive test for the presence of cannabis within the petitioner's body. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

HB 5265 – Rep. Will Guzzardi, Sen. Ann Gillespie

Provides that homeless children and youth as defined in Section 11434A of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act also qualify for a waiver for fees and fines for losing school property like Chromebook or school book/supplies. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

HB 3988 – Rep. Kambrium Buckner, Sen. Mattie Hunter

Creates the Task Force on Missing and Murdered Chicago Women. Provides that the Task Force must examine and report on the following: (1) the systemic causes behind violence that Chicago women and girls experience, including patterns and underlying factors that explain why disproportionately high levels of violence occur against Chicago women and girls, including underlying historical, social, economic, institutional, and cultural factors that may contribute to the violence; (2) appropriate methods for tracking and collecting data on violence against Chicago women and girls, including data on missing and murdered Chicago women and girls; (3) policies and institutions such as policing, child welfare, medical examiner practices, and other governmental practices that impact violence against Chicago women and girls and the investigation and prosecution of crimes of gender-related violence against Chicago residents; (4) measures necessary to address and reduce violence against Chicago women and girls; and (5) measures to help victims, victims' families, and victims' communities prevent and heal from violence that occurs against Chicago women and girls. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

HB 4242 Rep. Lakesia Collins, Sen. Julie A. Morrison

The bill expands eligibility under the Department of Human Services' Child Care Assistance Program to additional categories of applicants including foster youth with children. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

HB 4304 Rep. Lakesia Collins, Sen. Julie A. Morrison

This bill further amends the Children and Family Services Act. Requires the Department of Children and Family Services to ensure that an exit interview is conducted with every child age 5 and over who leaves a foster home (unless clinically contraindicated) to make sure Illinois is building affirming and safe placements. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

HB 4201 Rep. Maurice A. West, II, Sen. Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas

Requires the institution of higher education to designate a benefits navigator who has a detailed understanding of eligibility requirements for benefit programs and campuswide and community resource support. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.

SB 3616 Sen. Mattie Hunter, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth

The bill adds traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective such as braids, locks, and twists to the unlawful discrimination section of the Illinois Human Rights Act. NASW-Illinois Chapter supports this bill.


The above summary only reflects the status of NASW-IL's position on a bill at the time of the report. As legislative changes occur frequently, this may no longer be the current status or NASW-IL's position.

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