Answers to Common Questions about the Integrated Assessment Program (IAP)

Below are common questions about the IAP. To view the answer, simpy click the question, or scroll down to read all the questions and answers.

Q. How will I be notified if one of my cases is an IA case?
A. A regional intake coordinator will contact you if your case is an IA case. They will be working with the permanency worker and clinical screener in scheduling the various interviews and screens.

Q. What are the timeframes for the first 45 days of the Integrated Assessment Process?

A. The comprehensive health evaluation must be completed within the first 21 days of the child(ren) entering the Department’s care.

The child and caregiver interviews and screens will be scheduled to occur within 20 days after temporary custody is granted. This will provide at least a brief adjustment period for the child to become more accustomed to his or her placement before undergoing the assessment process. As well, parent, stepparent and paramour interviews will be scheduled within 20 days after custody is granted.

Finally, a Family Meeting is held by the 40 th day following the child’s placement to discuss recommendations.

Q. Who will coordinate all of the various interviews and screens with the child and family?
A. Within the first days of placement, the intake coordinator or clinical screener will contact the permanency worker, parent(s) and caregiver(s) to set up the appointment dates (including the early childhood and behavioral health screens, parent interviews, and caregiver interviews).

Q. How much time does it take for the permanency worker and clinical screener to conduct the screens/interviews for the IAP?
A. Each of the interviews and screens (child, caregiver, and birth parent interviews) could last between one and three hours.

Q. Who will be entering the IA report into SACWIS?

A. The clinical screener will enter the IA report on the child(ren) they were involved with into SACWIS. The permanency worker will be responsible for entering information about siblings not in DCFS care. Once the report is entered into SACWIS and agreed upon by the worker, supervisor and screener, the permanency worker will need to submit the report for approval from his or her supervisor.

Q. Will all DCFS children receive an integrated assessment?
A. Since January 2004, the IAP began accepting all DCFS standard cases in Cook County. Standard cases are defined as new placement cases in which no child or family case is currently open. It includes cases which may have previously been opened and closed, but does not include add-on or intact disruption cases at this point in time. The goal of the IAP is to provide assessment services to all clients and families entering into the department’s care.

Q. What is the role of the intake coordinator?
A. The intake coordinator coordinates and schedules medical/mental health interviews & screens for children and family/caregivers, collects records and information from participants and collaterals (i.e., school, treatment providers), and enters pertinent information into the IA database. There will be 12 intake coordinators across the state.


Q. What is the role of the clinical screener?

A. The clinical screener is a licensed clinical social worker or psychologist. The screener collaborates with the DCFS/POS permanency worker throughout the IA process. The screener will conduct comprehensive mental health interviews/screens with children, birth parents/guardians and substitute caregivers together with the permanency worker. The screener will be responsible for writing the IA report for children in DCFS care. The permanency worker and supervisor along with the screener will review the report, suggest revisions, and discuss recommendations for the child and family. There will be approximately 55 clinical screeners across Illinois.

Q. Why is a clinical screener needed on a case? Permanency workers have been doing social assessments for years without any assistance.
A. The role of the permanency worker in a child’s life is essential. The child develops a relationship with the permanency worker over time, and this is the person the child comes to trust in helping the child achieve safety, permanency and well-being. Pairing a clinical screener with a permanency worker will allow the permanency worker to spend the most time with the child and family, while the screener reviews records, integrates findings, and writes the report. These activities take about 20 hours per case, and this is time the permanency worker will have freed up to be with the child and family. Secondly, clinical screeners will pair their clinical expertise with the permanency workers’ child welfare expertise so that all of the child’s needs are identified when a child enters the DCFS system.


Q. Are intake coordinators and clinical screeners DCFS employees?
A. Intake coordinators are DCFS employees. Clinical screeners are hired through partnerships that DCFS has established with four institutions around the state. In the Southern and Central regions, we have partnered with Southern Illinois University; in Northern region, Northern Illinois University; and, in Cook County La Rabida Children’s Hospital and the Erikson Institute. All screeners will attend a one-week DCFS training and receive supervision by DCFS clinical staff.


Q. Do Permanency Workers need to be present in the interviews if a Clinical Screeners is on the case, and if so why?
A. Yes. Permanency Workers are critical to the case and are the primary owners of the case. The Clinical Screeners assist the Permanency Worker in collecting up front clinical information about the child and family. Clinical Screeners and Permanency Workers are encouraged to share the responsibility of conducting IA interviews and asking questions.
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Q. Does the gathering of this historical data replace the former social history?

A. Yes. The new Illinois Model of Integrated Assessment replaces the old Social History because it involves a more comprehensive Social History.
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Q. When can I expect to review information collected?
A. The clinical screener is responsible for getting a draft of the IA Report to the Permanency Worker and Supervisor by day 30 from the start of the IA process. If the Permanency Worker is on SACWIS, the Clinical Screener will enter the draft of the IA report in SACWIS by day 30.
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Q. What happens if the Clinical Screener and the Permanency Worker disagree with the assessment of information that was collected?
A. There will be times when there is disagreement regarding a case, that is expected. The Permanency Worker and Clinical Screener should discuss this disagreement and try to come to a consensus that both parties can agree upon. In cases where disagreements continue to occur, both parties should work with both Supervisors.

Q. Who schedules the child’s Comprehensive Health Evaluation?
A. The HealthWorks Lead Agency serving the county in which the child is placed will contact the Substitute Caregiver to schedule the child’s Comprehensive Health Evaluation.
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Q. What is an Integrated Assessment Multiple Placement Disruption Case?
A. Multiple Placement Disruption Cases, also known as “Trigger Cases”, involve clients who experience a third placement into foster care after having experienced two other permanency placements within the previous 18 months. The previous placement must have been from a foster home or relative home placement. The IAP clinical screener facilitates a clinical staffing for these types of cases to ensure sharing of critical information about the child and family so that steps can be taken to stabilize the child.
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Q. How will I be Notified if I have a Multiple Placement Disruption Case?

A. A regional intake coordinator will contact the permanency worker currently assigned to the case to notify them that their case fits the criteria for a multiple placement disruption case. During this notification, the IAP intake coordinator will request that the assigned worker collect and forward any relevant clinical information to the intake coordinator. The timely collection of this case information is critical to the process.
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Q. When did the IA Begin Working with Multiple Placement Disruption Cases?
A. The IAP began addressing Multiple Placement Disruption cases in October 2004.
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Q. What are the Timeframes for Reviewing Multiple Placement Disruption Cases?
A. The intake coordinator will schedule the initial staffing with the worker, supervisor, and clinical screener to obtain a general history of the minor and the reasons for the recent placement move. This initial staffing is scheduled to occur within 10 business days of receipt of the alert.

ased on the discussion between the worker, supervisor, and IAP clinical screener, a determination will be made if the case should proceed to a follow-up staffing and/or an integrated assessment. The follow up staffing and/or starting the integrated assessment process occurs within 14 calendar days of the initial staffing.

Q. Are IAP Screeners and Intake Coordinators Trained to Use SACWIS?
A. Yes. Clinical screeners and intake coordinators involved in the IAP receive SACWIS training. The clinical screener will enter the Integrated Assessment report in SACWIS on the child(ren) that are in DCFS care and involved in the IAP. The permanency worker will be responsible for entering case information into SACWIS on the child(ren) that are related to the client but not in DCFS care. Clinical screeners are working in SACWIS with POS agencies that have access to SACWIS, and with DCFS managed cases.
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Q. How will I be notified if one of my cases is an IA case?
A. A regional intake coordinator will contact you if your case is an IA case. They will be working with the permanency worker and clinical screener in scheduling the various interviews and screens.
back to the top

Q. What are the timeframes for the first 45 days of the Integrated Assessment Process?

A. The comprehensive health evaluation must be completed within the first 21 days of the child(ren) entering the Department’s care.

The child and caregiver interviews and screens will be scheduled to occur within 20 days after temporary custody is granted. This will provide at least a brief adjustment period for the child to become more accustomed to his or her placement before undergoing the assessment process. As well, parent, stepparent and paramour interviews will be scheduled within 20 days after custody is granted.

Finally, a Family Meeting is held by the 40 th day following the child’s placement to discuss recommendations.
back to the top

Q. Who will coordinate all of the various interviews and screens with the child and family?
A. Within the first days of placement, the intake coordinator or clinical screener will contact the permanency worker, parent(s) and caregiver(s) to set up the appointment dates (including the early childhood and behavioral health screens, parent interviews, and caregiver interviews).
back to the top

Q. How much time does it take for the permanency worker and clinical screener to conduct the screens/interviews for the IAP?
A. Each of the interviews and screens (child, caregiver, and birth parent interviews) could last between one and three hours.
back to the top

Q. Who will be entering the IA report into SACWIS?
A. The clinical screener will enter the IA report on the child(ren) they were involved with into SACWIS. The permanency worker will be responsible for entering information about siblings not in DCFS care. Once the report is entered into SACWIS and agreed upon by the worker, supervisor and screener, the permanency worker will need to submit the report for approval from his or her supervisor.

back to the top

Q. Will all DCFS children receive an integrated assessment?

A. Since January 2004, the IAP began accepting all DCFS standard cases in Cook County. Standard cases are defined as new placement cases in which no child or family case is currently open. It includes cases which may have previously been opened and closed, but does not include add-on or intact disruption cases at this point in time. The goal of the IAP is to provide assessment services to all clients and families entering into the department’s care.
back to the top

Q. What is the role of the intake coordinator?
A. The intake coordinator coordinates and schedules medical/mental health interviews & screens for children and family/caregivers, collects records and information from participants and collaterals (i.e., school, treatment providers), and enters pertinent information into the IA database. There will be 12 intake coordinators across the state.

back to the top

Q. What is the role of the clinical screener?
A. The clinical screener is a licensed clinical social worker or psychologist. The screener collaborates with the DCFS/POS permanency worker throughout the IA process. The screener will conduct comprehensive mental health interviews/screens with children, birth parents/guardians and substitute caregivers together with the permanency worker. The screener will be responsible for writing the IA report for children in DCFS care. The permanency worker and supervisor along with the screener will review the report, suggest revisions, and discuss recommendations for the child and family. There will be approximately 55 clinical screeners across Illinois.
back to the top

Q. Why is a clinical screener needed on a case? Permanency workers have been doing social assessments for years without any assistance.
A. The role of the permanency worker in a child’s life is essential. The child develops a relationship with the permanency worker over time, and this is the person the child comes to trust in helping the child achieve safety, permanency and well-being. Pairing a clinical screener with a permanency worker will allow the permanency worker to spend the most time with the child and family, while the screener reviews records, integrates findings, and writes the report. These activities take about 20 hours per case, and this is time the permanency worker will have freed up to be with the child and family. Secondly, clinical screeners will pair their clinical expertise with the permanency workers’ child welfare expertise so that all of the child’s needs are identified when a child enters the DCFS system.

back to the top

Q. Are intake coordinators and clinical screeners DCFS employees?
A. Intake coordinators are DCFS employees. Clinical screeners are hired through partnerships that DCFS has established with four institutions around the state. In the Southern and Central regions, we have partnered with Southern Illinois University; in Northern region, Northern Illinois University; and, in Cook County La Rabida Children’s Hospital and the Erikson Institute. All screeners will attend a one-week DCFS training and receive supervision by DCFS clinical staff.