Senate Approves Cronin Plan to Help Foster Parents Pay for the Actual Cost of Care of Illinois Abused and Neglected Children

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate on Tuesday night voted unanimously to require the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to review and set cost reimbursements each year for foster parent cost of care for abused and neglected children.

State Senator Dan Cronin

State Senator Dan Cronin

The Senate approved 54-0 the legislation, Senate Bill 1576, sponsored by State Senator Dan Cronin (R-Elmhurst).

According to a national 2007 national study, The Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children (MARC,) revealed Illinois lags far behind the MARC suggested rate.

“Illinois currently provides an average reimbursement of $422 per month for a 9 year-old child in traditional foster care, but the typical Illinois foster parent costs are $703 per month—a gap of $281 that foster parents pay out of pocket,” Marge Berglind, President of Child Care Association of Illinois.

Despite the gap between foster parent costs and reimbursements, DCFS still

State Rep. Greg Harris

State Rep. Greg Harris

has no plan this year to reimburse foster parents for increased food prices, even though food prices jumped 8% in 2008 and forecast to jump another 7% to 8% in 2009, according to Berglind.

“With Senator Cronin’s bill, foster children will benefit by helping to expand the pool of willing and capable foster parents who currently are deterred by the out-of-pocket expenses,” said Berglind.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), and Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge).

The legislation now moves to the Illinois House and State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) will be the chief sponsor.

“We are grateful to Rep. Harris for his willingness to assume sponsoring of this bill,” said Berglind. “And we are confident that his stature and legislative skill will replicate the Senate outcome in the House.”

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