The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) consists of a central office, three Cook County regions, and three downstate regions. Each region is divided into field service areas. Each field area, in turn, encompasses one or more Local Area Networks (LANs). The general statewide management and support functions of the agency are performed at the central office level. The State Central Register (which includes the child abuse hotline) is also a central office function.

Regions direct, monitor, and support the provision of Department services within their boundaries. They also provide some services, such as resource development, directly. Child protection, follow-up, and other direct service staff are based in field offices and provide most of the Department's direct social services. The Department has no administrative authority over LANs, but does work closely with them in the planning and provision of locally-based services.

The major service program categories of DCFS are Protective Services, Adoption and Guardianship, Family Maintenance, Family Reunification and Substitute Care, and Support Services. These program categories together with Central Administration activities are grouped under the functional headings of Programs for the Promotion of Safety, Programs for the Promotion of Permanency, Programs for the Promotion of Child and Family Well-Being and Programs for the Promotion of Service Quality and Program Accountability.

The Office of the Chief of Staff of the Department of Children and Family Services is the organizational unit responsible for the operation and administration of the Child and Family Services Plan.

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The Child and Family Services Plan, the state-mandated Human Services Plan, and the Department's annual budget request are the primary planning documents of the agency. The FY2000-2004 Child and Family Services Plan represents a further development in the evolution of planning that was encouraged by the federal requirements for Title IV-B planning. The Child and Family Services Plan throughout describes the integration of Title IV-B and Title IV-E services to achieve the safety, permanency, and well-being of children. Furthermore, the CFSP consolidates the following federal planning requirements:

1. Child Welfare Services Program - Title IV-B, Subpart 1

2. Family Preservation and Family Support - Title IV-B, Subpart 2

3. Independent Living Program - Title IV-E

4. Child Abuse and Neglect State Grant - CAPTA Basic Grant

5. Title IV-B Training Plan

6. Title IV-E Training Plan

7. Program Improvement Plan mandated by the Adoption and Safe Families Act

8. Multiethnic Placement Act and Interethnic Placement Act

Along with the above federally mandated plans, this new plan consolidates the various policies and program changes mandated by federal legislation, state legislation, and judicial consent decrees into one readable core document. It represents significant savings in time, personnel, effort, and paper. It also re-focuses effort on the purpose of planning: to guide activities rather than to write more, longer, and more detailed plans and accountings. Beyond the obvious benefits, consolidated planning forces both more integration and more comprehensiveness of programming. The many levels and areas of the Department are bound together by the same mission, vision, and principles of service provision. Furthermore, we can all see within one document how the common set of goals and objectives that relate to one program also relate to other programs in the Department.


Strategies and linkages used in formulating the FY97-99 Child and Family Services Plan, i.e. community input, citizen review, and local ownership of programs and responsibilities, have been carried forward in the development of this plan. The Department's plan is part of a collaborative planning process that includes other state or public agencies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the private child welfare sector, Local Area Networks, and various advisory or advocacy groups. The collaborative planning process increases the use of cross-jurisdictional resources, i.e. inter-agency, inter-governmental, and inter-state, because of its early involvement of participants and cooperative problem solving perspective.

A continuous consultation, review, and comment process involving Department staff, Department advisory groups, and interested parties took place from November 1998 into June of 1999. All the groups identified for consultation in the federal planning guidance were involved in the consultation and collaboration for the development of all or specific parts of the CFSP.

The advisory groups involved in the collaborative planning process will continue their participation in updating and revising plan elements as part of their regular meetings in the future. Those groups are as follows:

  • Children and Family Services Advisory Council
  • Child Welfare Advisory Committee
  • Statewide Citizens? Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Children?s Justice Task Force
  • Family Centered Services Steering Committee
  • Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council
  • African-American Family Commission
  • Hispanic Advisory Council
  • DCFS Supervisory Councils
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Governor?s Office
  • Bureau of the Budget
  • U. S. Department of Health and Human Services

The intended results of such collaboration are shared goals and objectives, consistency, efficient use of resources, and accountability. Using a needs-based model, plan elements include:

  • Examining the current caseload to develop an assessment of client-based resource needs;
  • Enhancing clinical standards to guide program development and needs projections at all levels;
  • Developing the capacity to anticipate program and resource needs based on research standards;
  • Developing a comprehensive and planned child welfare system that aims at service delivery at the community level;
  • Enhancing quality assurance and program monitoring activities to review and improve service performance; and
  • Supporting local planning efforts so that available services can be inventoried and additional systems of care can be designed and implemented.


Although there are no federally recognized Indian Tribes in Illinois, the Department still complies with ICWA. In addition to the diligent recruitment efforts described below and in the Final Review, the Department’s Court Improvement Project has provided training for judges in the Cook County Juvenile Court and statewide on the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 and general awareness and sensitivity to Native American issues. A curriculum and a training manual were developed for use across the state.

A Juvenile Court and Judge’s Training Symposium was held in April 1998. One hundred and twenty of the booklets created by the Court Improvement Project about ICWA, Indian welfare services and community services available through the Native American Foster Parent Association, and Native American heritage recognition, were distributed. Additional booklets are available for statewide distribution.

Department rules on Indian Child Welfare Services were adopted and codified at 5 Ill. Reg. 8645, effective August 19, 1981 (Appendices).


Future activity in the area of diligent recruitment includes the continuation of all the efforts and collaborations described in the Final Review and the following activities:

  • A child-specific recruitment program, utilizing a comprehensive child-specific recruitment tool and staffing process for all children waiting over one year or now have special care needs;
  • Individual comprehensive written Regional recruitment plans will be developed for all foster and adoptive recruitment that respond to local conditions, recruitment resources, and opportunities;
  • Each DCFS region has established a regional team for recruitment planning and coordination of efforts with private agencies and collaboration partners;
  • Continuation of minority recruitment programs, e.g. Village Investment Project, One Church One Child, Latino Consortium, Native American Foster Parent Association, and Chicago Public Schools;
  • A major-market, targeted television recruitment campaign with the Freddie Mac Foundation;
  • Collaborative recruitment partnerships with community groups in underutilized communities, particularly in the Latino, African-American, Asian, Native American, and Arab communities; and
  • A statewide recruitment plan for foster and adoptive homes is in the Appendices.



In addition to the activities that the Department is currently funding under the Federal Formula/State Grants/CAPTA program, the Department has identified the following activities for funding during the period FY2000-2004 with standard allocations and with supplemental funds which the Department requests in advance of notice: (a) Provide mini-grants to support home visiting for high risk minority families; (b) Support region-based Mandated Reporter Training; (c) Support consultation on child abuse/neglect client treatment goals; (d) Support consultation on child abuse/neglect treatment models; (e) Support mini-grants for community partnerships to expand support groups for grandparents raising grandchildren; and (f) Support select family mediation projects. Detailed service/training descriptions are in the Appendices.

DURING FFY 2000 - FFY 2004

106 (a) (1)

106 (a) (2)

106 (a) (3)

106 (a) (4)

106 (a) (5)

106 (a) (6)

106 (a) (7)

106 (a) (8)

106 (a) (9)
























































(1) Intake, Assessment, Screening, and Investigations

(2) Multidisciplinary Teams/Interagency Protocols

(3) Case Management/Service Delivery

(4) General Systems Enhancement/Tracking

(5) Service Staff Training

(6) Mandated Reporters

(7) CA/N Program Development

(8) Disabled Infants

(9) Community Based Program Integration


    1. Mini Grants to Support Home Visiting for High Risk Minority Families
    2. Contractual Support for Regional Based Mandated Reporters
    3. Contractual Consultation on Client Treatment Goals
    4. Contractual Consultation on Treatment Models
    5. Mini Grants to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
    6. Contractual Support for Family Mediation
    7. Contractual Support for Investigations with Cook County Medical Examiner's Office
    8. Contractual Support for LSC & Associates to Convene Camp Red Ribbon
    9. Contractual Support/Staff Support for Office of Demonstration
    10. Support for Annual Training Conference Convened by Prevent Child Abuse - Illinois
    11. Parenting Training/Support for Hispanic Families (LaVoz Latina)
    12. Effective Parenting Training/Outreach (IMANI, Inc.)
    13. Peer to Peer Parenting Support (The Parent Place)
    14. Parenting Training for Non-Custodial Fathers (Chicago Commons/Paternal Involvement Program)
    15. Consultation/Contractual Support on Multidisciplinary Teams Development
    16. Contractual Support for LSC & Associates to Staff FCAN Roundtables
    17. Service Improvements for Special Need Families (Illinois Respite Coalition)
    18. Case management for HIV/AIDS Project (Cook County Area Camp)
    19. Contractual/Staff Support for Local Network Development
    20. Support for Rock Island Child Abuse Council


Public Act 90-608 amended the Adoption Act to bring Illinois into full compliance with the Adoption and Safe Families Act—PL 105-89. Policy Guide 98.11 released November 2, 1998, effective November 16, 1998, implements the transition rules as they apply to "new" and "current" children in foster care as described in PI ACYF-CB-PI-98-14, August 20, 1998.

By reference, this section is incorporated into our Final Report. Policy Guide 98.11 is attached in the Appendices.


The Training Division administers the Department's training, professional development, education partnership, and staff recruitment programs. It establishes standards of clinical practice and supports Regions to ensure integration of standards into practice. It provides clinical, health care consulting services and technical assistance to field staff and advises LANs on the development of Wraparound Service programs.


DCFS collaborates with other state or public agencies: the Attorney General, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Public Aid, the Department of Human Services (DHS) -- Disability and Behavioral Health Services Division, Community Operations Division, and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state's attorneys, the private child welfare sector, Local Area Networks, local service initiatives, universities, and various advisory or advocacy groups in the development, delivery, and evaluation of services. Examples of such collaboration are detailed in other sections of this plan. They may take the form of service coordination, use of cross-jurisdictional resources, joint funding of a program, resolution of eligibility issues, interagency agreements, amended contract language, research projects, new rules and procedures, and the staffing of individual cases. Their purpose is to ensure consistency, accessibility, accountability, and the efficient and humane use of resources.


DCFS coordinates research and evaluation through its Office of the Research Director. DCFS established this office in 1994 through a joint agreement with the School of Social Service Administration of the University of Chicago.

The Office of the Research Director also serves as liaison to the Children and Family Research Center (CFRC). The Center was created by DCFS and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It completed its third full year of operation in FY99. The Center's purposes are to:

  • Study and report on outcomes for children served by the Department
  • Conduct analyses of factors that contribute to observed outcomes
  • Evaluate child welfare service programs
  • From research findings, produce information useful to child welfare professionals and the general public.

Examples of CFRC projects for FY 2000 and FY 2001 include: on-going outcome reports on the safety, permanency and well-being of children in the care of the Department; an evaluation of the factors that DCFS caseworkers consider when making placement decisions; a study to explain the differences between families that are reunified and those that are not. Other DCFS units involved in research and evaluation activities are the Division of Clinical Services, Training Division, Office of Quality Assurance, Office of Budget Development, Division of Purchase of Service Monitoring, and Office of Demonstration.


The primary method used to measure progress will be outcome measures. These will be supplemented by performance measures that focus on process. Measuring the progress of the Child and Family Services Plan will involve many of the information and data sources used in plan development:

  • Best Practices Workgroups of DCFS staff, consultants, and private sector experts were held during 1998 and 1999. Topics of the workgroups included all aspects of Department activity with purpose of codifying the highest standards for effective procedure.
  • National trend data from government agencies and private organizations was used for comparison purposes, particularly in setting priorities for objectives. Of particular note was data related to reunification and permanency efforts, including average length of stay for children in foster care.
  • HHS Child and Family Services Review. The draft report of the 1996 Child and Family Services Review was used to develop the goals and objectives of the FY97-99 CFSP and the current CFSP, as well as the previous Annual Reports. On-site review took place on March 25, 1996, and included review of records, and interviews with children, parents, foster parents, and service providers. Staff, providers, and persons from other collaborating entities such as the courts were also interviewed. The next round of HHS Reviews is due later this year.
  • Extensive collaboration occurred during the development of the Child and Family Services Plan through June 1999. This collaboration included staff discussions revolving around the budget process, staff development of issue papers, revisions of plan components by expert staff, executive staff reviews, advisory group review and revision, and federal joint planning discussions. Department units also work continuously with advisory groups and stakeholders to develop and refine individual program plans and Department strategies.
  • Statewide Data. Weekly electronic statistical updates, the monthly Executive Statistical Summary, the monthly Child Abuse/Neglect Statistics Report, the annual Child and Adolescent Local Area Network Fact Book, the semiannual Child and Family Outcome Measures Report, and the Regional Management Agreements Data Book are used to analyze safety, permanency, and child well-being trends. These reports reflect the valid and reliable baselines for these areas and will be used to track progress on achievement of goals and objectives.
  • Statutes, court orders, and consent decrees were reviewed to determine mandated direction and congruence with planned direction. Planned direction, including mission, vision, goals, and objectives support and further define activities related to mandates.


The Final Review and the consolidated Child and Family Services Plan will be available to the general public for review and comment at community libraries through the Illinois State Library's Depository Library System. The documents will be posted on the Department’s web site and copies will also be available to interested parties on request.