050924CM0677rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons is leading a groundbreaking initiative aimed at empowering caregivers to provide culturally competent haircare for youth in care to promote healthy hair and self-confidence in our communities.

“Hair plays a crucial role in young people's lives,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “This bill not only boosts their self-esteem but also fosters a sense of belonging and confidence that can positively influence all aspects of their lives.”

House Bill 5097 requires the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to include a haircare plan during case review outlining the necessary training and resources needed to ensure each child receives culturally competent haircare. Simmons’ measure outlines a plan that addresses culturally competent haircare training including preservation of youth’s cultural, gender and religious identities, and guidance for routines that promote healthy hair.

Building off of his work highlighting the important ties between hair and cultural identity with his work in 2021 to pass the Jett Hawkins Law, Simmons aims to foster a sense of belonging and confidence among youth in care by establishing a framework that safeguards their cultural connection to hair.

“Culturally competent haircare is more than just a grooming practice — it's an affirmation of identity and self-worth,” said Simmons. “By recognizing and respecting the diverse hair textures and styles of our youth, we empower them to embrace their heritage with pride.”

House Bill 5097 passed the Senate on Friday.