- The Women and Family Services division of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is piloting a Moms and Babies program that allows qualified mothers to keep their newborn babies with them in prison for a specific amount of time.
- The Decatur Correctional Center Moms and Babies Pilot is not Family Health Plans Moms & Babies medical coverage. These are two separate programs.
- The pilot program is limited to the Decatur Correctional Center and targets women who are pregnant and have fewer than 18 to 24 months left to serve.
- If otherwise eligible, DHS will provide TANF, medical, food stamp, and WIC benefits to the children. In addition, the women will qualify for child support services.
- The pilot will run for one year, from March 2007 to February 2008. An assessment will be completed in March 2008 to determine if the program continues.
References in this material to medical assistance policy have been approved by Healthcare and Family Services.
The Women and Family Services division of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is piloting a Moms and Babies program in the Decatur Correctional Center. The pilot program allows qualified mothers to keep their newborn babies with them in prison for a specific amount of time. It is the mission of the Decatur Correctional Center to provide a managed system of support and services for the female offender in order to establish and strengthen the relationship with her children. Other states that have implemented a similar program have seen a reduction in the return rate for female offenders.
An application for cash, medical, and food stamps for the newborn will be processed by the Macon County FCRC. A staff person from the Decatur Correctional Center will serve as the approved representative and as the proxy for Link. The case will be in the qualified mother's name as Representative Payee (RPY). She must sign an Approved Representative Consent Form (Form 2998) or provide a written statement authorizing the representative. She will also sign a Proxy Statement (Form 3655) to authorize issuance of the Illinois Link card to the Decatur Correctional Center staff person.
When processing the application, the Macon County FCRC staff will run the usual clearances. If they find the mother has an active Family Health Plans Moms and Babies case on Local Office 180, they will contact the HFS All Kids Unit to report the mother's move to the Decatur Correctional Center and her participation in this Pilot.
The TANF unit will be a child-only case. The mother is excluded from the TANF filing unit because of her incarceration. Consider the mother's income and assets when determining the child's eligibility. If she has income, budget it as income of an ineligible parent (see PM 10-04-01, WAG 10-04-01).
If the child is financially ineligible for TANF, determine the child's eligibility for Category 94 assistance. Do not consider the child institutionalized if living at Decatur Correctional Center through this pilot program.
Child Support Services
When approving the child for TANF or medical, indicate that the child is living with their mother as well as the appropriate status of the father. Based on the coding in Item 63, the mother will be referred for Child Support Services. Macon County FCRC will work with HFS Bureau of Child Support Enforcement to facilitate child support services.
The mother is not eligible for food stamps because she is a resident of an institution. Meals for the child will not be provided by the institution, so the child is not considered a resident of the institution, and the child qualifies for food stamps if all other eligibility factors are met. Do not consider income and assets of the mother when determining eligibility for the child. The mother is considered a non-FS unit member.
WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) is administered by the Bureau of Family Nutrition in the Division of Community Health and Prevention. WIC provides nutrition education, counseling and support, breastfeeding support, nutritious foods, health screenings, and referral to their services for infants and children under age five and pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women. The Macon County FCRC will work with the Bureau of Family Nutrition to facilitate WIC services.
[signed copy on file]
CAROL L. ADAMS, Ph.D.
Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services
BARRY S. MARAM
Director, Healthcare and Family Services