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Commission on Children - RG 303 | Illinois State Archives

Name: Commission on Children - RG 303
Variant Name: Commission for Handicapped Children; Commission for Physically Handicapped Children

Historical Note:

The Commission for Physically Handicapped Children was created by the General Assembly in 1933 to coordinate services for physically handicapped children provided by the Departments of Public Welfare, Public Health, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The commission further was empowered to stimulate efforts for the care, treatment, education, and social services afforded these children; to promote special classes and instruction; to arrange for the special training of teachers; to promote vocational guidance, training, and placement of physically handicapped children; and to make recommendations for improvement in the services provided by the state (L. 1933, p. 208). The commission was composed of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the directors of the Departments of Public Welfare and Public Health, and four citizens appointed by the Governor.

In 1941 the director of the Department of Labor and five additional citizens were added to the commission. It also was renamed the Commission for Handicapped Children, a title that reflected the commission's new interest in the problems of the mentally as well as physically handicapped. The same act also instructed the commission to establish a vocational school for the temporary training of educable mentally handicapped children who displayed symptoms of delinquency (L. 1941, vol. 1, pp. 311-312).

The Commission for Handicapped Children was absorbed by the Commission on Children which the General Assembly created in 1963. This commission was to study the needs of all of the children of Illinois and help plan the most effective use of voluntary and tax-supported programs at state and local levels; study and report on matters relevant to the protection, growth, and development of children; help coordinate state programs as they related to children; make recommendations for needed legislation; promote educational and social services for the children, including the exceptional children of the state; promote adequate diagnosis and treatment of children who may require special medical services; and publish informational materials relating to the commission's functions. The commission was composed of three House members appointed by the Speaker; three Senate members appointed by the president pro tempore; the directors of the Departments of Children and Family Services, Mental Health, Public Health, and Labor; the Superintendent of Public Instruction; the chairmen of the Illinois Youth Commission and the Illinois Public Aid Commission, the supervisor of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the director of the Division of Services for Crippled Children at the University of Illinois, and fifteen citizens who were appointed by the Governor and who were actively interested in voluntary and tax-supported efforts on behalf of children (L. 1963, pp. 1076-1078).

The commission was abolished by the Legislative Commission Reorganization Act of 1984 (P.A. 83-1257, p. 1170). In 1985 its responsibilities were assumed by the Citizens Council on Children which was within the newly created Citizens Assembly (P.A. 84-15, p. 302).

For an administrative history of the CITIZENS ASSEMBLY see RG 624.000.

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