The Illinois State Board of Education today amended emergency rules that had banned the use of certain physical restraints in schools. Those rules had been enacted two weeks ago in response to an investigation published by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica documenting thousands of incidents where children with special needs were put into seclusion rooms at school.


The board had reacted to that report by banning not only seclusion rooms, but also the use of prone and supine physical restraints, which can make it difficult for children to breathe or communicate normally. 


Kevin Rubenstein, president of the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education, says those new rules had ripple effects.

New Healthy Beverage Guidelines for Children

Oct 3, 2019
Ben Kerckx / Pixabay

Scientists and doctors have released new guidelines for child nutrition and healthy beverages.


One recommendation is that children under five should not be given plant-based milks, like oat milk or soy milk, unless ordered by a doctor. While these are fine for adults, children need the nutrition that comes with cow's milk or formula.

Looking at the well-being of Illinois’ children through a racial lens … shows big disparities, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual KIDS count report.

Racial disparities show up on measures of health, educational achievement, and economic well-being.

Illinois lawmakers are trying to make it easier for parents to share diaper changing duty.

The  Chicago-based child advocacy group Voices for Illinois Children wants Illinois lawmakers to consider how their policies might worsen racial and ethnic disparities.

According to a spokeswoman,  state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, is expected to introduce a measure that would create a “racial impact note” – where a lawmaker could ask for additional information tacked onto a bill that would estimate the impact on minorities.

They would be similar to fiscal notes that detail how a policy would affect the state’s finances.

Illinois News Connection

Illinois is doing better at improving the lives of children, according to the new 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book.

But the report warns progress could be undermined by a 2020 Census under-count.

An Illinois pediatricians’ group is calling on Congress to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

Jenny Pinkwater is executive director of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She says the CHIP program helps children of the working poor.

Illinois' budget stalemate is over but those who work with children in the state say a lot of ground was lost while lawmakers disagreed.

Children in Illinois are doing better than in recent years, and advocates are calling on state and federal leaders to avoid reversing those gains.

Good News for Murphysboro's Masonic Home.

Feb 27, 2017
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

At a press conference held on Monday February 27th, 2017, Anthony Cracco, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, announced an agreement to keep the Illinois Masonic Children's Home in Murphysboro open.  The United Methodist Children's Home in Mount Vernon will assume operations of the home.  The officials involved announced there will be no staff changes and current Associate Administrator of the Murphysboro home, Julie O'Connor, will continue to lead the work in Murphysboro.

Chicago's violent year was especially dangerous for the city's children. Dozens of young kids were shot in 2016 before reaching high school age.

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

One room in   Building H at John A. Logan College was filled with 100s of toys, collected by the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children and partners Tri-State Business Equipment in Harrisburg and Ameren Illinois.  In all, over 700 new toys were collected and were picked up by case workers with several southern Illinois social service agencies.

Illinois has created a network of emergency foster care homes.

Department of Children and Family Services Director George Sheldon says these homes are places youth in the state's care can be sent in lieu of emergency shelters.

Sheldon told a legislative panel Tuesday that there's currently capacity for 36 kids. His goal is to have room for 50.

"Frankly, this state had a series of emergency foster homes a decade or so ago," he said. "I don't know why that was abandoned. I think it's a much more appropriate facility."

Picture this: You're in the supermarket with your hungry preschooler in tow. As you reach into the dairy case, you spot a sign with a friendly cartoon cow. It reads: "Ask your child: Where does milk come from? What else comes from a cow?"

In a small study published last year, signs like these, placed in Philadelphia-area supermarkets, sparked a one-third increase in conversations between parents and children under 8.

Jennifer Fuller/WSIU

Volunteers and families involved with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program in southern Illinois learned earlier this spring the initiative would be cut - in part because of the state's budget impasse.

Advocates for children say Child Abuse Prevention Month should be an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the problem - so that they can help combat it.

picture of school child washing hands

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that kids miss 22-million school days each year due to colds. If you are a parent or grandparent of school aged kids, you know we are in the middle of cough and cold season. Dr. Laurence Flint is a pediatrician and helped author a recent survey by the National Association of School Nurses that examines how parents approach their child's illness.   WSIU's Jeff Williams talked with Flint about the survey and what parents need to know about keeping thier children healthy during cold season.

Families with babies, from birth until they're three years old, are eligible for state assistance to help their children learn and grow. It's called early intervention. But without a budget, Illinois stopped paying the therapists who provide these services. Now, the comptroller and the governor's administration says they've come up with a way to pay again, even though Illinois still has no budget in place.

Suspended payments for early intervention services will resume, even though Illinois still has no budget.


A union that represents many childcare providers across Illinois says Governor Rauner has reversed course, after initially refusing to pay 28,000 of them for work performed in July.

This weekend families from across the region will be treated to a special PBS Kids day at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has consistently said he's waiting to give details on his plans for Illinois' finances until his budget address, on February 18th. But decisions by previous lawmakers may force him to make closely-watched decisions sooner.

Illinois has a program that helps low-income parents pay for day-care. But -- because the previous General Assembly cut funding for it by millions from the current state budget - state money for has run out.

United Methodist Children's Home

A southern Illinois children’s home is receiving more than a million dollars in federal funding to help at-risk youth.

The Illinois Kids Count 2014 report is out, and it continues to show a gap in the availability of social services for children all over the state.

A state senate committee is continuing its probe of Illinois child abuse and neglect cases.

Illinois' child welfare agency says a spike in the number of children reported to have died of neglect might be the result of a change in reporting guidelines.

State of Illinois

The head of Illinois' child welfare system resigned Friday afternoon.

WSIU Radio's Jennifer Fuller talks with Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale Program Director Tina Carpenter about their summer programming.

Pre-K enrollment in Illinois is declining and a child advocacy group puts a lot of the blame on the Illinois General Assembly.

Voices for Illinois Children released its 2013 Kids Count report Thursday at 8 locations around the state including Unity Point School in Carbondale.

WSIU Radio's Jennifer Fuller talks with Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale Board President Kathy Fralish about the upcoming Trivia Night At the Oscars.