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New law aims to boost use of database for students with developmental disabilities


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – A law that takes effect the first of the year will draw attention to a database designed to help students with developmental disabilities.

Sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood, the new law requires the Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Board of Education to train public school case workers to register students with the PUNS (Prioritization or Urgency of Need for Services) database.

DHS and ISBE would also have to develop a new program to provide resources for case workers. The law also requires ISBE to inform parents and guardians concerning the PUNS waiting list through school districts.

Experts argued that due to a lack of awareness, PUNS is under-utilized, and therefore, people with developmental disabilities across the state are not getting the services they need. The law will ensure students in Illinois public schools and parents have the information they need to register with PUNS if they so choose.

The new law was Senate Bill 226

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