Winger advances bill to improve lives of youth in care of the state

Legislation sponsored by State Rep. Christine Winger (R- Wood Dale) that would instill a little normalcy in the lives of Illinois foster children passed out of the Illinois House of Representatives late last week.

With the permission of their parents, spending the night at a friend’s house, going on a school field trip and holding a summer jobs are all normal activities for most Illinois children. It is not the case for children in the state’s Foster Care system who must get the permission of bureaucrats before they engage in these and many other activities.
“This legislation would make it a little easier for youth in foster care to experience the activities that other children take for granted,” explained Winger. “These experiences enhance learning and help young people gain important life skills.”

Winger’s legislation would remove the bureaucratic barriers to normalcy for children in the care of the state by giving foster parents the same ability to make parenting decisions for their foster children as other Illinois parents. House Bill 5665 requires caregivers to use the reasonable and prudent parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a child to participate in appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.

“Foster children should have the same rights as other children to engage in extracurricular and social activities with the permission of their foster parents,” said Winger. “This bill gives foster parents the ability to make the best decisions for each individual child.”

House Bill 5665 passed the House unanimously and heads to Senate.