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Recommendations for the State of Illinois

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Recommendations for the State of Illinois

Policy Recommendations — By on January 31, 2011 7:05 pm

The Taskforce has issued the following policy recommendations for the State of Illinois:

1.     SUPPORT THE RESPONSIBLE BUDGET COALITION

The Taskforce supports the Responsible Budget Coalition, and urges continued support for organizations that provide prevention services and counseling for survivors of sexual violence. There is already a dearth of services to engage young people, and cutting funding for these services would be disastrous.

2.     ENSURING SUCCESS IN SCHOOL INITIATIVE

The Taskforce supports the work of the Ensuring Success in School initiative, coordinated by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. (You can read about the initiative here: http://www.theshriverbrief.org/tags/essa/)

3.     ILLINOIS SAFE SCHOOLS ACT

The Task force supports implementation of the Illinois Safe Schools Act and encourages the implementation of Restorative Justice practices to curtail bullying in schools, when appropriate, rather than criminalization of young people. We understand that the organizations that proposed and advocated for this Act share these values

4.     HIV STATUS DISCLOSURE

Illinois should abolish the law that requires state and local health officials to report the names of HIV-positive students to the principals of their schools.

5.     COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION

Policymakers should require all schools in Illinois to teach medically accurate, age appropriate, comprehensive sexual education (not simply HIV/AIDS prevention education). The education should encompass accurate information about the full range of sexual orientations among Illinois young women, including information about being a parent, and information about healthy relationships. The law should reflect this.

6.     TEACHER TRAINING

All teachers in Illinois should receive sexual health education as part of their basic training.

7.     HEALTH SERVICES

Illinois health centers and other organizations in the state should provide accurate and confidential information and access to reliable contraception, pregnancy and STD testing, pre-natal care and abortion services. In particular, as considerable research has shown emergency contraception to be safe and effective, it should be made available without a prescription to all adolescents. Health care should affirm whatever choice young women make once they have received accurate information about the wide range of options available to them.

8.     HIV / AIDS PREVENTION

Policymakers can help discourage the spread of HIV/AIDS among girls and young women by encouraging condom distribution and needle exchanges to young people, and providing young people with information about their proper use for HIV/AIDS prevention.

9.     PROVIDE ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAMS

We must interrupt the Girl Prison Pipeline by addressing the trauma that girls face before they come into contact with the system. Keep them out of the system since we know the incarceration does not work. It is a pathway to future involvement in the adult criminal legal system. This means providing adequate resources for anti-violence programs in schools and community settings.

10. ADDRESS RE-ENTRY NEEDS

We need to address the re-entry needs of formerly incarcerated girls (emergency funds, housing, employment training, counseling support). The city, county, and state need to develop a pool of resources specifically dedicated to the re-entry needs of all formerly incarcerated youth. This can allow us to address the recidivism issue.


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