03 24 Dunkin Working to Improve Supervision at Youth Shelters
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, passed legislation out of the House Human Services Committee yesterday that will require state temporary youth shelters to prevent residents from violating curfew laws and punish facilities that allow unauthorized absences to become excessive.

"The goal of this legislation is to ensure shelters can account for the children in their care at all times,” Dunkin said. “While these shelters cannot lock the children in, they can accompany them outside of the facility or find other measures to prevent them from leaving."

Dunkin's House Bill 1530 is in response to a shooting that took place outside of Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center in Chicago’s South Side where three residents of the shelter were shot late one night last summer. The bill requires shelters to maintain adequate staffing levels, establish rules to prevent children from leaving after curfew and develop procedures for locating children who are able to leave unsupervised. Shelters that are unable to prevent excessive unauthorized absences face possible revocation of their license.

The bill is a result of collaboration between Dunkin, the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center and the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian. The measure was approved unanimously in committee, and now awaits consideration before the full House.

"These shelters provide a valuable service for the children who live there and the community as a whole," Dunkin said. "I am glad that I was able to bring everybody together and find a solution that puts the interests of the children first."