Protections for DCFS and Adult Protective Service Workers passes critical House Judicial-Criminal Committee

Springfield, IL – This week, the Judicial Criminal Committee unanimously voted to support DCFS and an Adult Protective Service Workers.

HB 1482, sponsored by Rep. McCombie, adds protections to DCFS and Adult Protective Service employees from assault, the same protections applied to teachers, police/fire, and other emergency responders who protect those in harm’s way.

“HB 1482 is a public safety bill that closes a loophole that was discovered when DCFS worker Pam Knight was brutally attacked on September 29, 2017, while she was advocating for a two year boy. She later died because of those injuries on February 8, 2018,” said Rep. McCombie. “Unfortunately both DCFS and Adult Protective Services workers were missed when they wrote the original law that gives protections to teachers, police/fire and other public workers. This bill closes the loophole that unintentionally left those workers out who protects our most vulnerable.”

In addition, Don Knight, Pam Knight’s husband of 32 years, and one of her grandchildren, Natalie Hollenback, were present in committee to give testimony.

“My wife was assaulted while performing a welfare check. She was trying to protect a two year old child from harm,” said Knight. “Existing law in Illinois protects many first responders. If someone attacks a firefighter or a police officer they are charged with aggravated assault, and it is a felony. The crime of attacking a social worker ensuring a child’s safety should be the same. Send a message to child welfare workers – their lives matter. Their safety matters.”

Attacks against state workers who are protecting our most vulnerable are unfortunately common – with over a dozen attacks taking place since 2013. This legislation essentially closes a loophole in the law that omitted DCFS and Dept of Aging workers from those harsher penalties that are applied when other public servants are attacked.

Last year the Illinois House of Representatives recognized Pam Knight’s life and sacrifice by unanimously passing House Resolution 952 in her honor. The legislature passed also a bill that codifies a DCFS workers ability to request a police escort when they are approaching a potentially dangerous situation.

HB1482 will now move to the full floor of the Illinois House of Representatives, it currently has over 70 sponsors in the House.