SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– A measure amending language in child welfare and juvenile court statutes to be more inclusive has passed in the Illinois Senate.

House Bill 1596 recognizes the growing number of minor Illinoisians who identify as LGBTQ+ and amends the language to better reflect their identities.

The ACLU Director of Systems Reform Policy, Nora-Collins Mandeville said that, “Today’s majority vote in the Senate sends House Bill 1596 to the Governor’s desk for final approval. A few years ago, the Illinois Auditor General reported that DCFS was failing to meet the needs of the growing number of LGBTQ+ youth under their care.”

Mandeville continued, “Recognizing and affirming those youth by using appropriate and inclusive language is a critical first step to providing care to those for whom DCFS is responsible. Adopting gender-inclusive language promotes equity and respect for all people – a laudable goal for our State. We thank the bill sponsors, State Senator Mike Simmons and State Representative Lakesia Collins, and encourage Governor Pritzker to sign this law as soon as possible.”

The legislation now heads to the Illinois Governor’s desk for signing into law.