lightford floor PUNS signing releaseSPRINGFIELD – Students with developmental disabilities will soon find it easier to get the help they and their families need. Sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood), a new law requires the Dept. of Human Services (DHS) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to train public school case workers to register students with the PUNS (Prioritization or Urgency of Need for Services) database.

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.

“A database that ensures that people with developmental disabilities are never overlooked and always given help is no help to anyone if it is not used,” said Sen. Lightford. “Through this new law, we can ensure that students in the greatest need receive the resources they require to succeed and lead healthy, productive lives.”

DHS and ISBE will also develop a new program to provide resources and training for case workers so they are as prepared as possible to provide these students and their families with the information and advice they need. The law also requires ISBE to inform parents and guardians concerning the PUNS waiting list through school districts.

The measure was signed into law July 27, 2015.

Category: News

Earlier this month, Senator Lightford (D – Maywood) and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus teamed up with Chicago & Cook County Building and Trades, Dawson Technical Institute – a pre-apprenticeship job training center for construction and utility trade careers – and the Illinois AFL-CIO to provide much needed guidance for people looking for promising careers by hosting a Pathway to Apprenticeship Informational Fair.

On July 20, the event gave 88 eager apprenticeship seekers information on when applications for specific apprenticeships are accepted, necessary qualifications and contact information for Apprenticeship schools. Representatives from 17 unique trades provided crucial knowledge from experts on how to navigate the process of finding the right apprenticeship program in the right career field.

Event participants were greeted by Senator Lightford – Chair of the ILBC, Tom Villanova – President of the Chicago & Cook County Building and Trades, Robert Barnett – Dawson Technical Institute Dean, and Jason Keller – Legislative Director of the Illinois AFL-CIO.

Also joining Senator Lightford in greeting and interacting with the event participants were fellow ILBC Chicago members, Senators Jacqueline Collins (D –16th), Mattie Hunter (D –3rd) and Patricia Van Pelt (D –5th), as well as Representatives LaShawn Ford (D –8th), Camille Lilly (D –78th) and Kenneth Duncan (D –5th).

 Check out the photos from the Pathway to Apprenticeship Fair below!

app fair groupapp fair attendees

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Category: News

JJC 316 1SPRINGFIELD: From cancer screenings and AIDS/HIV education to DCFS scholarship programs and foster care funding –all were voted to be saved in the Senate today as the chamber decided to override Governor Rauner’s veto of budgets for the Dept. of Health and the Dept. of Children and Family Services. State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, Assistant Majority Leader, released the following statement after her vote.

“Together, these departments promote and safeguard the health and well-being of everyone in Illinois. We cannot allow the governor to hold hostage the health and safety of abused and neglected children and other vulnerable populations in need of aid or treatment.

Until the budget impasse is solved, DCFS service providers have received a 10 percent budget cut and staff are being let go and doors are closing for those providing cancer detection screenings. This is an unacceptable reality, and this is why I voted to protect these services.

I call on the governor to lead and take these cuts seriously and pass an empathetic budget that takes everyone into account because so many of us are experiencing the dire ramifications of this budget crisis. The people of this state are more than numbers on a page or a spreadsheet. We have beating hearts that need protecting. I intend to always uphold this truth. I hope the governor follows suit.”

Category: News

Senator Lightford would like to invite you to "Uplift Our Future" at the Brookfield Zoo Sunday, July 26, 2015 as you and your children prepare for the up-coming school year.

Come enjoy a free lunch and some zoo-time fun at this event that will supply students with free school supplies! And on top of that, the first 500 people gain entry to the zoo for free! See the flyer below for more details. See you at the zoo!

Back to School Event 2015


Category: News

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