Illinois teachers and others who look after children in a nonparental role may soon have to be taught how to recognize and eliminate their own racial and ethnic biases as they go about their duties as mandated reporters of potential child abuse and neglect.
Both houses of the Illinois state Legislature comfortably passed House Bill 3100 late last month, and Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker has 60 days to sign it, let it become law without his signature or veto it.
The bill, originally sponsored by state Rep. Delia Ramirez (D), would require that teachers, doctors, law enforcement, social workers, health care workers, child care workers and other mandated reporters take an approved in-person or web-based class that includes a segment on implicit bias within three months of starting their job and again every three years.
The training must include information about how people’s implicit bias can hide their own patterns of thinking about people of races and ethnicities that differ from their own. It would equip them with the tools to adjust their automatic patterns of thinking and ultimately eliminate discriminatory behaviors.
Beginning trainees would have to fill out a pretest to assess their baseline levels of implicit bias, and at the end of the training, their bias levels would be reassessed.
The law would require that the curriculum be developed within a year after consultation with experts in implicit bias, youth development, child abuse and neglect prevention, ethnic and racial cultural practices within families and the child welfare system. The Department of Children and Family Services would be responsible for providing the training through approved contractors.