Castro fights to break cycle of poverty and give youth the tools to be successful

castro 052918SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro’s (D-Elgin) measure that passed both chambers would help provide children in foster care and under supervision of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) the opportunity to go to college.

Under House Bill 5122, certain youth from DCFS, who file for FAFSA and do not receive a DCFS fee waiver, would have the opportunity to receive a scholarship that would cover the remaining tuition and fees for any public institution of higher learning.

“Kids in foster care are less likely to attend college,” said Castro. “This affects their futures, including their income levels and employment stability. I don’t want there to be barriers for these kids who are in situations that they had no control over.”

Currently, there are scholarship opportunities provided through DCFS, but the number is limited. Only 53 scholarships are provided each year and approximately 250 students apply annually.

“This measure will give kids from DCFS the tools to be successful,” said Castro. “They will then go out and contribute to our economy and make the job market stronger in our state. Their talents and dreams shouldn’t be limited.”

Castro’s measure would allow scholarship waivers to be available to students who enroll in a post-secondary education before the age of 26, as long as progress toward completing their degree is made.

House Bill 5122 passed both the House and Senate and now moves to the governor’s desk for consideration. 

Sen. Cristina Castro

Senator Cristina Castro

22nd Senate District

Years served: 2017 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Commerce and Economic Development; Energy and Public Utilities; Labor; Revenue (Chairperson); Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Vice-Chairperson); Government Accountability/Pensions (Chairperson); Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com..

Associated Representative(s):
Anna Moeller
Fred Crespo