CHICAGO (WMBD) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton praised a House Bill 342, a measure signed Thursday by the governor that includes recommendations from the Whole Child Task Force, which has worked to identify how Illinois can support more equitable, inclusive, and supportive environments for every student.

“Our administration is leading so educators can create inclusive, equitable, and supportive spaces for students across our communities in Illinois, and the Whole Child Bill is the next great step in that mission,” Stratton said. “Having teachers, administrators, child psychologists, and advocates equipped to address childhood trauma responses will help create environments for students to find the support they need to succeed.”

The task force is a collection of child psychologists, teachers, administrators, and members of state agencies. The recommendations being codified include the implementation of a Children’s Adversity Index, which requires the Illinois State Board of Education to develop an index to measure community childhood trauma exposure in children ages 3 to 19.

Added Pritzker: “In 2021, I was proud to support Leader (Kimberly) Lightford in establishing the Whole Child Task Force so that every student from every background can thrive. Two years later, we’re codifying many of the Task Force’s recommendations, and will continue to review our progress and devise new ways to best support our state’s children.”

Also, the bill implements training workshops for teachers which focus on trauma-responsive learning environments, and the needs of the whole child. It establishes a committee to make recommendations on the incorporation of trauma-related requirements to the professional educator licensure requirements and license renewal for K-12 teachers.

The Whole Child Task force will reconvene by March 2027 to review progress on these recommendations and will submit a new report on the state’s progress and along with any additional recommendations.