* Seems like a pretty good idea…
If a child disappears, an Amber Alert is issued. It’s a Silver Alert if the person is elderly. But, what about those who are disabled?
Right now, there’s no alert system to find those with intellectual disabilities, but that could soon change thanks to some work at the Capitol. Lawmakers are filing legislation hoping to give many families peace of mind.
Greg O’Connor is the director of Sparcs. The nonprofit helps those with disabilities lead productive lives. He says he doesn’t think it’s extremely common, but admits these people are extremely vulnerable and it could be a major help if they get lost.
The bill would change the Missing Persons Act and include those living with developmental and intellectual disabilities under the high-risk label. That way, caretakers and loved ones can request an alert to help locate them.
* These caseworker jobs are far more dangerous than most people realize…
Following the brutal beating and eventual death of a Department of Children and Family Services caseworker who was trying to take a child into protective custody, efforts are in motion to protect child welfare workers going out on potentially dangerous visits.
The measures are happening at both the agency rulemaking level, as well as in the state Legislature, where a pair of bills have been proposed to help thwart future attacks.
DCFS caseworker Pamela Knight was at the Carroll County home of Andrew Sucher’s parents on Sept. 29 when Sucher allegedly kicked her in the head with such force that she suffered a fractured skull. Knight, 59, died Feb. 8. Sucher, 25, was indicted last week on first-degree murder charges.
The attack, along with a November report in The Chicago Tribune that found more than a dozen attacks against DCFS workers since 2013, have officials pursuing changes.
Senate Bill 2272, introduced by state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, and co-sponsored by Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, would give DCFS case workers the same protected status as police officers and firefighters harmed while performing official duties.
Some Illinois lawmakers want to allow residents to bypass federal caps to state and local tax deductions by creating a program that could turn people away from the new private school scholarship plan.
Initially, lawmakers wanted to create the “Illinois Excellence Fund,” a public charity that would allow a 100 percent state tax rebate and a deduction on federal taxes. This would, in theory, subvert the $10,000 cap on the SALT deduction in the federal tax overhaul, according to a University of Chicago professor.
State Rep. Jonathan Carroll amended the plan to call it the Illinois Education Excellence Fund. It would send money to local public schools for a 100 percent deduction on state taxes, more than the 75 percent deduction from the Invest in Kids program that helps students go to private schools. The Invest in Kids program was created last year as part of a partisan compromise that that also sent hundreds of millions of more state tax dollars to Chicago Public Schools.
Carroll said the change was made to be “more specific.” The program could take donors – and dollars – from the Invest in Kids program because it would create a 25 percent more lucrative incentive for Illinois residents looking for state tax credits.