lightford 041824SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightfordis working to keep families together by preventing children from being wrongfully removed from their homes due to an unfounded allegation of abuse or mistreatment.

“While we need to take child abuse and mistreatment seriously, we must also remember that kids will be kids and accidents happen,” said Lightford (D-Maywood). “Cases of abuse and mistreatment must be thoroughly, accurately and transparently investigated before making a decision to remove a child from their home.”

Families across the state have faced wrongful allegations of child abuse or neglect due to medical conditions, birth injuries and normal childhood accidents that result in findings that are misinterpreted as signs of abuse.


Lightford’s measure would set forth a number of protections that must be provided to a parent or guardian at the center of an abuse or neglect investigation. Under the measure, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services would be required to notify the parent or guardian of an investigation and give them the opportunity to submit a second medical opinion to be considered in the investigation.


Further, if a medical professional examines a child for the purpose of providing an opinion to DCFS regarding whether the child’s injury or condition is suspicious for child maltreatment, they must identify that intent to the parent or guardian and alert them that they may be required to communicate with law enforcement and provide court testimony.

Of the 142,000 investigations of possible abuse or neglect investigated by DCFS, 98,000 were not substantiated.

“As a parent whose child is in the hospital for medical treatment, you have the right to know when the doctor’s role shifts from caring for your child and providing you with information to the dual capacity role of examining and diagnosing your child and sharing information with a government agency that could potentially take your child away,” said Lightford. “At the forefront, the measure is about transparency and humanity.”

Senate Bill 378 passed the Senate Thursday and heads to the House for further consideration.