* Earlier this month…
Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, to extend protections to DCFS and Adult Protective Services workers in honor of slain-DCFS worker Pam Knight has received the unanimous approval of the Illinois House of Representatives.
HB 1482 adds protections to DCFS and Adult Protective Service employees concerning assault, the same protections applied to teachers, police/fire, and other emergency responders who protect those in harm’s way.
“This is a public safety bill that closes a loophole to protect DCFS and Adult Protective Service workers. The loophole was discovered when DCFS worker Pam Knight was brutally beaten, and ultimately succumbed to her injuries,” said McCombie.
Kyle Hillman, an official with the National Association of Social Workers Illinois Chapter, does not believe this bill will better protect DCFS employees. Instead, he believes it could land foster kids who are already struggling with trauma, in jail for years.
“You have an 18-year-old that acts out that, let’s say kicks a social worker in a fit of rage. This individual could be hit with a Class One felony under this bill,” Hillman said.
He believes there are other ways to better protect DCFS employees.
“If we did a little bit better training, if we had more social workers go into those dangerous situations so they aren’t going at it alone, those would be much more effective at protecting our members than adding higher penalties to existing crimes,” Hillman said.