New Illinois DCFS guidelines take effect in 2020

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Reforms are coming for the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services in 2020.

A new law, passed as HB 1551, sets new guidelines for the Illinois DCFS when a child is returned to the custody of a parent or guardian.

Among the reforms, DCFS must provide a minimum of six months of aftercare services once the child returns home.

DCFS officials must also complete a checklist within the 24 hours before a child is discharged from foster care. Another checklist must be completed within five days of the child’s return, in addition to once every month thereafter until the case is closed.

Additionally, when a person who is legally required to report child abuse allegations uses a telephone hotline to report an allegation, the department is required to accept it as a referral.

The reforms come after DCFS faced scrutiny over several cases and investigations this year, including the death of 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy A.J. Freund in April.