Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB2249
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Full Text of SB2249  101st General Assembly




State of Illinois
2019 and 2020


Introduced 4/9/2019, by Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford


See Index

    Creates the Access to Justice Grant Program Act. Establishes a Program and a Panel to issue and award grants to 2 community-based organizations to increase outreach, education on legal matters, and access to legal services to low-income communities of color. Requires the organizations to act as fiscal agents. Provides for the recruitment and training of community navigators to conduct legal screenings. Requires the Governor to include a $10,000,000 appropriation for the Program in the annual State budget. Contains provisions concerning: grant application requirements; a grant review committee; financial audits; and other matters. Amends the Children and Family Services Act. Provides that, if a child is placed in the custody or guardianship of the Department of Children and Family Services or a child is returned to the custody of a parent or guardian and the court retains jurisdiction of the case, the Department must ensure that the child is up to date on well-child visits, including immunizations, or there is a documented religious or medical reason the child is not immunized. Requires the Department to complete, before a child's discharge from foster or substitute care, a home safety checklist regarding the child's home. Requires any aftercare services to a child and his or her family to start on the date the child is returned to the custody or guardianship of the parent or guardian. Amends the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. Provides that when a report is made by a mandated reporter and there is a prior indicated report of abuse or neglect and a prior open service case involving a member of the household, the Department must accept the report as a child welfare services referral. Requires the Auditor General to conduct performance audits on the Department. Effective immediately.

LRB101 12039 KTG 59466 b






SB2249LRB101 12039 KTG 59466 b

1    AN ACT concerning State government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Access to Justice Grant Program Act.
6    Section 5. Legislative findings. The General Assembly
7finds that:
8        (1) The Department of Homeland Security reported a 171%
9    increase in the arrest and detention of undocumented
10    immigrants with no criminal record over the last 2 years.
11        (2) In Illinois alone, 525,000 undocumented
12    immigrants, including 40,000 immigrants with temporary
13    protected status and 42,000 immigrants with DACA status
14    under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,
15    are at risk of deportation and being separated from their
16    families.
17        (3) As of December 2018, about 71,000 adults and
18    juveniles were incarcerated in various facilities across
19    Illinois, including 40,872 individuals in Illinois
20    State-operated facilities and approximately 23,000
21    individuals incarcerated in local jails.
22        (4) On February 11, 2019, Governor Pritzker unveiled a
23    justice reform initiative and said, "It's time to reduce



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1    the recidivism rate and reentry through a holistic approach
2    that addresses opportunity both inside and outside of our
3    prisons".
4        (5) Completing a prison sentence is only the first step
5    in a long road to reentry into society.
6        (6) Many formerly incarcerated adults struggle to find
7    jobs and housing because of their criminal history, even
8    when records are expungeable.
9        (7) Illinois' vulnerable communities of color also
10    experience mental health challenges at higher rates,
11    including depression, anxiety, acculturative stress, and
12    trauma.
13        (8) The mental health needs of this population are
14    high, yet many are unable to access mental health services
15    due to lack of health insurance, transportation, or
16    cultural or language barriers.
17        (9) These insecurities and challenges facing
18    low-income communities of color have a large effect on the
19    State's economy and on the ability of employers to find and
20    retain employees.
21        (10) In response to some of these challenges, the City
22    of Chicago established and funded a successful Legal
23    Protection Fund and Community Navigator Program. The
24    program has strengthened existing community-based
25    organizations and trained 400 community navigators (such
26    as majority immigrant women: Latinos, Asians, and



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1    Africans.) who have reached over 50,000 individuals
2    through mass Know Your Rights trainings and have connected
3    immigrant families and persons classified as DREAMers
4    under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien
5    Minors Act to free community-based legal services. The
6    community navigators were supported by attorneys.
7        (11) Chicago's Community Navigator Program increased
8    the rate of immigrants with legal representation from 30%
9    to 59% with $1,300,000 while New York increased
10    representation from 50% to 61% with $10,000,000 according
11    to an independent study conducted by Syracuse University.
12        (12) Adequate funding is necessary to ensure Illinois'
13    communities of color, including immigrants,
14    African-Americans, and returning citizens, know their
15    rights and have access to legal support and social and
16    mental health services.
17    Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
18    "Legal services" means legal aid services rendered to
19individuals, including legal consultations, representations at
20expungement proceedings, and representation before the U.S.
21Citizenship and Immigration Services, the National Visa Center
22within the U.S. Department of State, the Executive Office of
23Immigration Review within the U.S. Department of Justice, the
24U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and any other
25immigration related agency or office.



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1    "Community navigator" means an individual formally trained
2by a qualified nonprofit community organization to educate and
3inform individuals on a specific subject matter.
4    "Grant Panel" means the Access to Justice Grant Program
5Panel created under Section 15 to review and administer grant
7    Section 15. Access to Justice Grant Program.
8    (a) The Access to Justice Grant Program is created for the
9purpose of issuing, subject to appropriation, grants to 2
10nonprofit, community-based organizations to serve as fiscal
11agents and increase outreach, education on legal matters, and
12access to legal services to low-income communities of color,
13including immigrant and African-American populations.
14    (b) There is created the Access to Justice Grant Program
15Panel. The Grant Panel shall consist of the following members:
16        (1) 2 co-chairs, one of whom shall be appointed by the
17    principal sponsor of this Act in the House of
18    Representatives and one of whom shall be appointed by the
19    chief co-sponsor of this Act in the House of
20    Representatives;
21        (2) 2 members, one of whom shall be appointed by the
22    principal sponsor of this Act in the Senate and one of whom
23    shall be appointed by the chief co-sponsor of this Act in
24    the Senate; and
25        (3) one member appointed by the Governor.



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1    (c) The Department of Human Services shall provide staff
2and administrative support to the Grant Panel. Members of the
3Grant Panel shall not receive compensation for their service on
4the Grant Panel but shall be reimbursed for necessary travel
5expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
6    (d) On or before July 1, 2019, nonprofit, community-based
7organizations that meet the requirements outlined in Section 20
8may apply to the Grant Panel for a grant under this Act.
9    (e) Subject to appropriation, on or before August 1, 2019,
10the Grant Panel shall award grant funds, in an amount to be
11determined by the Grant Panel, to 2 nonprofit, community-based
12organizations, as set forth in this Section.
13    (f) For State Fiscal Year 2020, the Governor shall include
14in the annual State budget for the Access to Justice Grant
15Program an appropriation of $10,000,000 which shall generate a
16one-to-one match from private employers and philanthropic or
17non-profit groups.
18    Section 20. Grant application; grant review committee.
19    (a) Grant applicants shall use the grant application format
20prepared and made available by the Grant Panel for this
21purpose. The applications shall be available on the Department
22of Human Services' website.
23    (b) To apply to be a fiscal agent and receive a grant under
24this Act, an applicant must be a nonprofit, community-based
25organization that provides legal services to meet the unique



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1legal needs of the targeted populations. A fiscal agent that
2provides immigration services must:
3        (1) have previous experience in serving as a fiscal
4    agent;
5        (2) have an in-house community navigator program;
6        (3) have previously trained other organizations in the
7    community navigator program;
8        (4) have headquarters in a census tract where at least
9    75% of the population is from a community of color; and
10        (5) be recognized by the Department of Justice to
11    practice immigration law.
12    (b-5) A fiscal agent that provides services to
13predominantly African-American communities must:
14        (1) have a pre-existing in-house community navigator
15    program;
16        (2) have a pre-existing program supporting formerly
17    incarcerated individuals with legal and social services;
18        (3) have a pre-existing Know Your Rights education
19    program with at least monthly seminars;
20        (4) have a formal relationship with a community bond
21    fund;
22        (5) have headquarters in a census tract where at least
23    75% of the population is African-American;
24        (6) have a pre-existing relationship with 3 or more
25    private law firms (whose main offices are located in a
26    census tract where at least 75% of the people are



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1    African-American) that provide pro bono legal services;
2    and
3        (7) have a pre-existing relationship with an
4    organization that works with incarcerated individuals and
5    survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
6    (c) Each fiscal agent must fund and train 10
7community-based organizations throughout the State to recruit
8and train community navigators to reach and inform 20,000
9Illinois low-income and vulnerable individuals living in
10communities of color on Know Your Rights, expungement
11processes, mental health services, and immigration legal
13    (d) Each fiscal agent must fund and train 10
14community-based legal service organizations that will conduct
155,000 legal screenings for low-income and vulnerable
16communities of color.
17    (e) At least one fiscal agent must be able to work with
18mental health organizations to implement 4 pilot
19community-based mental health programs.
20    (f) Each grant applicant shall:
21        (1) describe itself, indicate whether it is a
22    nonprofit, community-based organization, and provide its
23    legal status and a summary of its mission;
24        (2) be authorized to conduct affairs in the State of
25    Illinois;
26        (3) designate that it is applying for a grant to ensure



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1    access to legal services in low-income communities of
2    color, including immigrant and African-American
3    populations; and
4        (4) have a partnership with business associations to
5    reduce barriers to employment, provide certified training,
6    and address labor shortage for Illinois employers.
7    (j) Each grant application shall include a detailed,
8narrative statement describing the proposed use of the grant
9funds. Each grant applicant shall also provide:
10        (1) the name and contact information of the Director of
11    the nonprofit, community-based organization;
12        (2) a description of the applicant's ability to
13    administer the grant;
14        (3) a project title;
15        (4) a project description;
16        (5) a description of the applicant's
17    request-for-proposals process and any other process used
18    for selecting sub-grantee organizations;
19        (6) the applicant's target audience and needs;
20        (7) a project schedule;
21        (8) methods for evaluating outcomes; and
22        (9) the applicant's proposed budget and a detailed
23    explanation of expenses.
24    Grant applicants must demonstrate in their grant
25applications that they have satisfactorily met all
26requirements set forth in this Section, and that they possess



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1the administrative capacity to perform the purposes of the
2Access to Justice Grant Program and the fiscal and reporting
3functions stipulated in this Section.
4    (k) The Grant Panel may deny a grant application if the
5requirements of this Section are not met or are inadequately
6met. The Grant Panel shall not discriminate on the basis of
7race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin,
8disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military
9status in the awarding of grants.
10    (l) Grant applications that are not submitted in the
11required format by July 1, 2019, as set forth in subsection (d)
12of Section 15, or that are not completed, shall not be
13considered for funding by the Grant Panel.
14    (m) The grant application process shall be competitive. A
15grant review committee shall review all grant applications and
16make recommendations to the Grant Panel regarding the selection
17of grant award recipients.
18    (n) The grant review committee shall consist of one
19representative from the Department of Human Services, and, at
20the discretion of the Grant Panel, any other additional
21qualified reviewers. Any additional reviewers shall be
22selected based on their academic qualifications and their
23vocational and volunteer experience related to the subject
24matter of the grant.
25    (o) No person shall serve on the grant review committee if
26that person:



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1        (1) is applying for a grant under this Act;
2        (2) is employed by any entity applying for a grant
3    under this Act;
4        (3) has an ownership interest in or receives income
5    from any entity applying for a grant under this Act; or
6        (4) is related more closely than the 5th degree of
7    consanguinity (second cousins) to an owner or employee of
8    any entity applying for a grant under this Act.
9    (p) Members of the grant review committee shall
10independently consider the following criteria and assign
11weighted scores up to the total amount of points indicated:
12        (1) Requirements. Does the nonprofit meet the
13    requirements as outlined in Section 20? (500 points)
14        (2) Abstract. Does the project overview appropriately
15    communicate the proposed project? (25 points)
16        (3) Administrative capacity. Does the applicant have
17    adequate experience and qualifications to accomplish the
18    proposed project? Is the applicant a known and trusted
19    voice in the community to be served? (100 points)
20        (4) Project description. Has the applicant provided a
21    comprehensive description of the project, including
22    details about methods, activities, and services to be
23    provided in light of the legislative findings under Section
24    5? (200 points)
25        (5) Connection to employers. Has the applicant stated
26    how this program will partner with trade and business



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1    associations to reach the workforce and to increase the
2    pipeline of available workers to fill high and low skilled
3    employment positions? Does the application include at
4    least 3 letters of support from Illinois trade or business
5    associations? (100 points)
6        (6) Capacity building. Has the applicant described how
7    it will build capacity for smaller nonprofits to be able to
8    achieve their goals, including training, technical
9    assistance, and coordination with public and private
10    entities? (300 points)
11        (7) Target audience and need. Has the applicant
12    identified the intended audience and its need for services
13    proposed? Has the applicant set forth a plan for
14    identifying and reaching target communities? (500 points)
15        (8) Project schedule. Does the applicant's timeline
16    clearly illustrate appropriate scheduling of the proposed
17    actions and activities? (50 points)
18        (9) Evaluation. Is the methodology and strategy that
19    the applicant will use to evaluate the success of the
20    project reasonable? (25 points)
21        (10) Budget. Is the proposed budget reasonable,
22    necessary, appropriate, and adequate to perform the
23    proposed services? (100 points)
24    (q) For purposes of this grant application and review
26        (1) Two organizations shall serve as fiscal agents.



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1    Fiscal agents then must sub-grant as provided in this Act
2    and in with the approval of the Department of Human
3    Services.
4        (2) All grant applicants shall be notified whether or
5    not their application has been approved. The decision of
6    the Grant Panel regarding the award of grants under this
7    Section is final.
8        (3) The Grant Panel shall notify the submitting entity
9    when an application is approved. All approved applicants
10    shall enter into a grant agreement provided by the Grant
11    Panel before any grant funds are distributed.
12    Section 25. Grant reporting requirements.
13    (a) As stipulated by the grant agreement, the following
14reports shall be completed and transmitted to the Department of
15Human Services by each grant recipient:
16        (1) monthly narrative and financial reports that
17    identify by line item all expenditures made from grant
18    funds;
19        (2) a final financial report showing all expenditures
20    of grant funds and the return of any unexpended grant
21    funds; and
22        (3) a final narrative report evaluating the degree to
23    which the grantee achieved the goals and objectives of the
24    project.
25    The Grant Panel may request additional information and data



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1from any grant applicant.
2    (b) Grants awarded under this Section are subject to the
3Grant Accountability and Transparency Act. The Grant Panel
4shall not consider grant applications submitted by entities
5that are included in the Illinois Debarred and Suspended List
6maintained by the Governor's Office of Management and Budget.
7    (c) Grant recipients shall maintain books and records
8relating to the expenditure of grant funds. Books and records,
9including information stored in computer systems, shall be
10maintained by the grant recipient for a period of 3 years from
11the later of the date of the final grant payment or the
12completion of the projects for which the grant was issued.
13    (d) Books and records required to be maintained under this
14Section shall be available for review or audit by the
15Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Attorney
16General, or the Auditor General. Failure to maintain books and
17records required by this Section shall establish a presumption
18in favor of the Grant Panel for the recovery of any grant
19funds, attorney's fees, and costs paid by the Grant Panel or
20its designee.
21    (e) Grants made under this Section are subject to the
22provisions of the Illinois Grant Funds Recovery Act. Actions
23brought under that Act may include, but are not limited to, a
24grant recipient's: (i) failure to spend funds in accordance
25with the application or any approved amendment to the
26application or (ii) failure to comply with reporting procedures



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1stipulated in this Section. If a provision of this Section
2conflicts with a provision of the Illinois Grant Funds Recovery
3Act, then the provision of the Illinois Grant Funds Recovery
4Act controls.
5    (f) Obligations of the Grant Panel to fund the Access to
6Justice Grant Program shall cease immediately without penalty
7or further payment being required if the funds for the grants
8are not available to the Grant Panel.
9    Section 30. The Children and Family Services Act is amended
10by adding Section 7.8 as follows:
11    (20 ILCS 505/7.8 new)
12    Sec. 7.8. Home safety checklist; aftercare services;
13immunization checks.
14    (a) As used in this Section, "purchase of service agency"
15means any entity that contracts with the Department to provide
16services that are consistent with the purposes of this Act.
17    (b) Whenever a child is placed in the custody or
18guardianship of the Department or a child is returned to the
19custody of a parent or guardian and the court retains
20jurisdiction of the case, the Department must ensure that the
21child is up to date on his or her well-child visits, including
22age-appropriate immunizations, or that there is a documented
23religious or medical reason the child did not receive the



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1    (c) Whenever a child has been placed in foster or
2substitute care by court order and the court later determines
3that the child can return to the custody of his or her parent
4or guardian, the Department must complete, prior to the child's
5discharge from foster or substitute care, a home safety
6checklist to ensure that the conditions of the child's home are
7sufficient to ensure the child's safety and well-being, as
8defined in Department rules and procedures. At a minimum, the
9home safety checklist shall be completed within 24 hours prior
10to the child's return home and completed again or recertified
11in the absence of any environmental barriers or hazards within
125 working days after a child is returned home and every month
13thereafter until the child's case is closed pursuant to the
14Juvenile Court Act of 1987. The home safety checklist shall
15include a certification that there are no environmental
16barriers or hazards to prevent returning the child home.
17    (d) When a court determines that a child should return to
18the custody or guardianship of a parent or guardian, any
19aftercare services provided to the child and the child's family
20by the Department or a purchase of service agency shall
21commence on the date upon which the child is returned to the
22custody or guardianship of his or her parent or guardian.
23However, if multiple children are returned at different times
24to the custody or guardianship of the parent or guardian,
25aftercare services shall commence on the date upon which the
26last child returns home.



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1    (e) One year after the effective date of this amendatory
2Act of the 101st General Assembly, the Auditor General shall
3commence a performance audit of the Department of Children and
4Family Services to determine whether the Department is meeting
5the requirements of this Section. Within 2 years after the
6audit's release, the Auditor General shall commence a follow-up
7performance audit to determine whether the Department has
8implemented the recommendations contained in the initial
9performance audit. Upon completion of each audit, the Auditor
10General shall report its findings to the General Assembly. The
11Auditor General's reports shall include any issues or
12deficiencies and recommendations. The audits required by this
13Section shall be in accordance with and subject to the Illinois
14State Auditing Act.
15    Section 35. The Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act is
16amended by adding Section 7.01 as follows:
17    (325 ILCS 5/7.01 new)
18    Sec. 7.01. Safety assessments for reports made by mandated
20    (a) When a report is made by a mandated reporter to the
21statewide toll-free telephone number established under Section
227.6 of this Act and there is a prior indicated report of abuse
23or neglect and a prior open service case involving any member
24of the household, the Department must, at a minimum, accept the



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1report as a child welfare services referral. If the family
2refuses to cooperate or refuses access to the home or children,
3then a child protective services investigation shall be
4initiated if the facts otherwise meet the criteria to accept a
6    As used in this Section, "child welfare services referral"
7means an assessment of the family for service needs and linkage
8to available local community resources for the purpose of
9preventing or remedying or assisting in the solution of
10problems which may result in the neglect, abuse, exploitation,
11or delinquency of children, and as further defined in
12Department rules and procedures.
13    As used in this Section, "prior open service case" means a
14case in which the Department has provided services to the
15family either directly or through a purchase of service agency.
16    (b) One year after the effective date of this amendatory
17Act of the 101st General Assembly, the Auditor General shall
18commence a performance audit of the Department of Children and
19Family Services to determine whether the Department is meeting
20the requirements of this Section. Within 2 years after the
21audit's release, the Auditor General shall commence a follow-up
22performance audit to determine whether the Department has
23implemented the recommendations contained in the initial
24performance audit. Upon completion of each audit, the Auditor
25General shall report its findings to the General Assembly. The
26Auditor General's reports shall include any issues or



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1deficiencies and recommendations. The audits required by this
2Section shall be in accordance with and subject to the Illinois
3State Auditing Act.
4    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
5becoming law.



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2 Statutes amended in order of appearance
3    New Act
4    20 ILCS 505/7.8 new
5    325 ILCS 5/7.01 new