February 14, 2020

Sex Education for Persons with a Developmental Disability

Hide yourself in God, so when a man wants to find you he will have to go there first.

HB3299 amends the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code to require persons admitted to a developmental disability facility and receiving habilitation to have access to sex education, related resources, and treatment planning. The expectation is this access will support individuals’ rights to sexual health and healthy sexual practices as well as the right to be free from sexual exploitation and abuse.  The Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities will be responsible for approving course materials in sex education that meet nine different criteria described in the statute. 

Course material and instruction in sex education shall:
  1. be appropriate to the developmental disability of the recipient;
  2. present identity as a part of mature adulthood;
  3. replicate evidence-based programs or substantially incorporate elements of evidence-based programs;
  4. place substantial emphasis on the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and diseases and shall stress that abstinence is the ensured method of avoiding unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and diseases, including HIV/AIDS;
  5. include a discussion of the possible emotional and psychological consequences of sexual intercourse and the consequences of unwanted pregnancy;
  6. stress that sexually transmitted infections and diseases are serious possible health hazards of unwanted pregnancy;
  7. provide information on the use or effectiveness of condoms in preventing pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections and diseases;
  8. teach recipients to avoid behavior that could be interpreted as unwanted sexual advances, and how to reject unwanted sexual advances; and
  9. explain signs of possible dangers from potential predators.


The Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Human Rights Authority a division of Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission are leading a work group that is developing guidance for state operated and community agencies throughout the State.  In addition to the work group, two sub-committees are looking at curricula and the process for approval.   

We expect there may not be one training resource that covers all the criteria.  Rather, we anticipate one outcome to be a list of resources and website links that will ensure organizations have a robust toolbox for assessment and education.  In addition to offering resources that a provider can adopt, we believe that many of you may already have developed training materials for assessment and education of the individuals you serve.

In that vein, we would be interested in receiving any materials that you currently use for sex education and assessment.  If you are willing to share those materials with us, please send them to Linda Sandman at lsandman.msw@gmail.com. We hope to hear from many of you.

The effective date for this law is January 1, 2020; however, there is not an expectation that it be fully implemented at that time.  We will keep you informed on the work group’s progress along with a timeline for providing information.  If you have any questions, ideas, or comments please let Teresa Parks (Teresa.Parks@illinois.gov)or Kathy Ward (Kathy.Ward@Illinois.gov) know.



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