The Illinois Senate passed a bill Wednesday to support the families of slain DCFS workers.
48th District State Senator Doris Turner of Springfield is sponsoring the measure, which treats the death of a Department of Children and Family Services case worker similar to the death of a law enforcement officer. Under current law, when a police officer is killed, their spouse and minor children are eligible to receive health insurance benefits.
Turner says that DCFS workers killed in the line of duty should also receive that benefit: “This bill will extend the Public Safety and Police Benefits Act to include DCFS workers, providing benefits to the survivors of social workers killed in the line of duty.”
The measure was inspired by last month’s stabbing death of Deidre Silas, a DCFS case worker responding to a child endangerment call in Thayer. Silas was a young mother of two at the time of her death. The measure was influenced by the death of Pamela Knight, who was beaten in Sterling while attempting to take a toddler into protective custody. Knight later died from her injuries in 2018.
Illinois lawmakers are also looking to pass a bill that would increase penalties for those who commit crimes against Illinois Department of Childhood and Family Services employees while serving in the line of duty.