Progress on 3-Hour Rule

Remember when ILDOCC teamed up with CCAU and SIECAT to hold 30-minute forums with each gubernatorial candidate? Not all said yes, but Bailey, Sullivan, and Pritzker appeared, separately, to answer our questions. Foremost on our minds here at ILDOCC was the 3-hour rule and keeping that in place, which we expressed to Gov. Pritzker.

ILDOCC then asked you (and others) to respond to a survey so we could follow-up our meeting with the Governor and provide him and DCFS with your answers. Thank you for responding so quickly! Over 98% of you said we need to make that 3-hour rule permanent! (The 3-hour rule is issued in policy guidance only and expires at the end of the year.) We were flooded with responses like no other survey.

So when we met with the Governor’s staff and DCFS on Monday, Aug. 22, we had your support and your data to give. And share it we did! So what happened? Here’s the results from that meeting:

1) All of us thought this was the most productive meeting with DCFS we’ve had.

2) They said they hear us and understand the value the 3-hour rule has had on programs.

3) They made a commitment to us that they are open to extending the 3-hour rule that is currently in guidance and are also open to potentially putting this into permanent rule.

4) They also committed to following up with others in the administration and getting back with us quickly on next steps.

One other important thing. We also clarified the 3-hour rule’s use because it’s being interpreted differently by reps across the state. To this end, the rule can be utilized in each classroom in the program per day, but it also can be used at any time throughout the day in each room. Some reps were interpreting the rule to mean that each room had to utilize an assistant during the same 3 hours each day; however, this is not the case.

If you hear from your rep that you cannot use this rule at different times in each classroom, please reach out to us with the name of your rep and we will pass along the information to get this cleared up with your rep for you.

We want you to know how much we appreciate your confidence in ILDOCC. Thank you!

Just so you know, prior to the meeting, ILDOCC, CCAU, and SIECAT drafted a press release in regards to the 3-hour rule and the benefit to programs it has made. This draft press release was shared with the meeting’s attendees to let them know that we were prepared to go public with this issue if they were not willing to negotiate in good faith. The meeting included Meaghan Jorgensen (Acting Executive Deputy Director of DCFS), Shontee Blankenship (Deputy Director of Licensing for DCFS), and Edie Washington.

So what’s next? While the representatives on the call from DCFS did commit to taking next steps to keep the 3-hour rule around, we plan to keep their feet to the fire and make sure they follow through on this. The pending deadline of December 31st means that we do not have time to wait on an answer. We plan to continue these conversations until the guidance has officially been extended.

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