The below press release was released by Illinois State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). The legislation is an NASW-Illinois Chapter initiative.
SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) argued the merits of a plan to require the Department of Children and Family Services to assist youth-in-care with the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a virtual meeting of the Senate Health Subcommittee on Children & Family.
“One of the most stressful times for youth-in-care is their senior year in high school, because not only are they close to aging out of the system, but they also have to consider their future plans, including college and how to pay for it,” Peters said. “Providing assistance in applying for financial aid will help ease some of the burden for youth-in-care by giving them one less thing to worry about.”
Senate Bill 63 requires DCFS to ensure that every youth-in-care has completed a FAFSA by no later than Nov. 1 of the youth’s final year in high school. It also requires DCFS to assist the youth in acquiring any documents that are necessary to complete the FAFSA, including Social Security card, driver’s license number, and tax and other financial information.
The legislation, which is an initiative of the National Association of Social Workers, passed the committee unanimously. Peters sponsored a similar proposal in 2020, but it was sidelined due to changing priorities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.