PROGRESS AND SERVICES REPORT
I: Progress and Accomplishments
pursuant to the Final Rule for Title IV-B in ACYF-IM-CB-96-27, the Illinois
Department of Children and Family Services developed and adopted a comprehensive
strategic plan--the consolidated Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP).
The new document subsumes all other agency planning processes, whether
tactical or strategic, and serves as their core. It requires that all
activities performed by DCFS and its contractors be directed toward achieving
one or more of three primary goals:
children from abuse and neglect
children with permanent, stable living arrangements
families and children and enhance their well-being.
Annual Progress and Services Report, also mandated by the Final Rule,
will discuss progress and accomplishments toward achieving the above goals.
Subsequent reports will also include analyses of outcome measures as presented
in the CFSP.
Goal of Safety
the Department has contact with more than 70,000 families through child
abuse and neglect investigations. In FY 97, the Department initiated 99.5
percent of those investigations within 24 hours. It completed 98.8 percent
of those investigations within 60 days. To assure that subjects of reports
received appropriate services, DCFS also began, continued or completed
the following systemic improvements:
End Redesign--This effort has been underway since FY96. Its goal
is to connect families to services more quickly, in a planful manner,
and at the community level. This will be done by closely linking the
Department's investigative and service functions. Two models will be
field tested in FY98. In the integrated model, one protective services
worker will be responsible for all interaction with the family, from
the investigation through the arrangement and/or provision of service,
for as long as the child can remain safely at home. In the paired team
model, separate workers will perform the investigative and service functions,
but they will have the same supervisor. Both models call for the face-to-face
handoff of cases. Test results will be evaluated in FY98, after which
the Department will schedule further implementation as appropriate.
Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol--This protocol was developed
by DCFS in FY96 in collaboration with the American Humane Association
and a statewide, multidisciplinary task force. It helps staff identify
safety factors at critical junctures in the agency's involvement with
a family. It then guides development of a safety protection plan for
each child determined to be at risk. Training began in FY96 and was
completed in FY97. More than 7,000 investigative staff, follow-up staff,
and their supervisors--from DCFS as well as private agencies--had to
pass a certification test. In FY98, instruction in the protocol's use
will become part of the Clinical Practice Retraining program.
Practice Training--To prepare for implementation of front end redesign,
the Department in FY97 launched this six-week training module in FY97.
By FY99, all affected staff and supervisors must be certified in Clinical
Practice Training. It is discussed in more detail in Section III of
this report, "Training and Staff Development."
Death Review Teams--These consist of teams of professionals from
a wide variety of disciplines who review all factors in child abuse
or neglect deaths and the deaths of Department wards. There are nine
regionally-based teams in the state. In FY97, they made more than 30
recommendations for improving the process for identifying high risk
situations and refining investigations.
Centered Services--Front end redesign in FY97 required that LANs
begin developing and organizing resources so that community-based services
can be delivered to intact families. Such services include prevention,
intervention, and treatment aid. They were funded by the Family Centered
Services Initiative, now in its third year. FY97 funding for the initiative
was $8.7 million. For the first time, it included service grants to
all 62 LANs in the state. In FY98, when testing of field models for
community intervention and support is completed, it will be $10 million.
The Department developed the field models with LAN conveners and a statewide
promote children's safety, the Department licenses nearly 40,000 foster
homes, group homes, institutions, agencies, and day care facilities.
During FY97, this function for the first time was centralized the full
year. This was done to focus management attention on the timeliness
and accuracy of the licensing process.
committed to the permanency provisions of PL 96-272 and other applicable
laws and regulations. It makes all reasonable efforts to prevent placement
when a child can be kept safely at home. When placement is necessary,
it provides appropriate family reunification services or plans a new permanent
living arrangement for the child.
When a child
must enter substitute care, the Department's Administrative Case Review
system reviews services and progress toward permanency. An initial review
and subsequent semiannual reviews of each case are held. Agency staff,
contractual providers, parents, foster parents, and older children attend
and take part. A case reviewer chairs each session. New services or a
change in permanency goal may be directed. In Cook County in FY98, the
Department will conduct reviews of intake cases on a quarterly basis to
speed their movement toward permanency.
permanency for children in kinship care, the Department is implementing
a Home of Relative Reform (HMR) Plan. It was formulated in 1995
after the number of children in HMR care had grown 169 percent in the
previous five years. Corrective actions included amending the legal definition
of neglect, streamlining the licensing process for relative homes, testing
a Subsidized Guardianship program, and adopting a two-tiered pay scale
by which unlicensed caregivers are reimbursed at the AFDC standard-of-care
rate instead of the regular foster care rate. In FY96, these measures
helped hold the increase in HMR care to just 3 percent. In FY97, the HMR
caseload actually declined by .7 percent. A further reduction of 2 percent
is projected in FY98.
As part of
HMR reform, the Department revised the definition of neglect. It removes
the assumption that children informally left in the care of relatives
are abused or neglected. Such relatives, however, often need social services
to stabilize the family and prevent future placement of the children.
Starting in FY97, the Department provided such help through its Extended
Family Support program. It has helped about 60 families a month.
DCFS is testing
the concept of Subsidized Guardianship for foster children under
a waiver from HHS. This new status will be considered only after family
reunification and adoption have been ruled out. Under it, private guardianship
will be transferred to relative caregivers and licensed foster parents.
Affected children will no longer be wards of the state. Parental rights,
however, will not be terminated. The Department expects 1,500 such case
conversions by the end of FY98. The reimbursement structure will be the
same as it is for subsidized adoptions. Also as with adoption, the Department
will offer post-guardianship preservation services to help families maintain
the new status.
As part of
general foster care and reform, DCFS will field test a Performance
Contracting System in Cook County in FY98. This will provide incentives
and rewards for public or private agencies to move foster children toward
permanency. For agencies that do not meet contractual expectations, there
will be disincentives. As part of redesigning the purchase of service
(POS) system, DCFS in FY97 completed installation of Agency Performance
Teams in each Cook County Region. These teams monitor and evaluate
overall performance of (POS) agencies. To date, they have identified a
number of agencies, particularly newer ones, as having practice, financial
or management problems with which they need help. The most troubled agencies
have been closed. Intake into several others has been frozen while they've
implemented corrective action plans. In FY98, a customized system of agency
performance teams will be implemented downstate.
to promote permanency through adoption include:
of the Division of Foster Care and Permanency Services. This elevated
the profile of the agency's permanency efforts by removing responsibility
for them from the same unit that oversees substitute care.
Expedited Adoption Program in Cook County to speed adoptions when
birth parents are unknown, deceased, have had their rights terminated
or have signed surrender agreements.
referral of all wards within two weeks of legal screening when they
have no identified adoptive home to the Adoption Information Center
Ombuds service was initiated by a letter from the Department Director
to all foster parents recommending that they call the Ombuds Office
if the child isn't moving to permanency quickly enough.
- A diligent
search grant from HHS to help locate non-custodial parents or speed
termination of their rights.
DCFS adoption workers into permanency workers so that all appropriate
permanency outcomes will be expeditiously considered.
a November 1995 rule so that adoption rates more closely mirror
foster care rates.
Tracking System is now focusing heavily on permanency, including
the development of reunification protocols, subsidized guardianship,
expedited adoptions, and performance contracting.
and other efforts, the Department has nearly doubled its number of consummated
adoptions since FY94. In subscribing to the federal Adoption 2002 initiative,
it has committed itself to doubling them again over the next five years.
family is served intact or children are placed in substitute care, the
physical and mental well-being of each family member is of vital concern
to the Department. This is best assured when well-trained caregivers serve
children in their own community in the least restrictive, homelike setting.
Other services that enhance well-being include counseling, homemakers,
medical and mental health care, an adequate education and job training.
Through various funds, the Department provided such services to approximately
65,000 children (not including those receiving adoption assistance) and
45,000 families (including those receiving intact family services) during
aimed at enhancing well-being include:
Care Network--also called HealthWorks, this system ensures that
consistent medical care of adequate quality is accessible statewide
at Medicaid reimbursement levels. It provides each child's caretaker
with a health passport that contains relevant medical information on
the child. It also recruits and monitors quality medical providers to
offer ongoing well and sick child care, initial health screenings of
children as they first enter foster care, and periodic, comprehensive
health evaluations for all children in foster care. Since the inception
of this program three years ago, the numbers of children who have documented
immunizations and documented current EPSDT exams has nearly tripled.
Cash Assistance and Housing Locator Services-These are provided
when a child would be placed in foster care (or not returned home) solely
because of subsistence issues in the home. Some 3,100 families received
emergency cash assistance in FY97, while 750 families received housing
locator aid. Those totals in FY98, respectively, will be 3,700 and 840.
Initiative--Since FY95, DASA and DCFS have collaborated on an initiative
to assess and treat substance abusing parents of children for whom DCFS
is responsible. DASA funds assessment and treatment services while DCFS
funds support services, including case management, outreach, and child
care. The 15 Project SAFE sites jointly funded by DCFS and DASA became
a part of this program. In addition, DASA began funding four new sites.
Public Schools--In FY97, the Chicago Public School system agreed
to provide DCFS and private agencies with absenteeism and truancy data
on children in their care. The agencies will use this data to identify
wards who are having trouble in school, then work with the school system
to address them. In addition, the system and DCFS also formally agreed
to improve the transitional planning process for youth returning from
residential care. To enhance planning for all wards, the Department
also amended its service plan to collect more detailed information on
believes that well-being can also be promoted by reducing inappropriate
high-end placements. Mechanisms to do that during FY97 included:
Placement Review Teams--these are regionally-based teams of clinical
experts. They review requests for placement of wards into residential
care. Before approving a placement, the team must first thoroughly consider
possible wraparound community alternatives with representatives of the
Guide 96.5--this restricts the placement of children into psychiatric
hospital settings. When placements are made, it calls for continuous
oversight of them. Since this policy's issuance in February 1996, discharges
from such settings have increased sharply, the average length of psychiatric
hospital stays has fallen sharply, and the cost of days past medical
necessity has fallen by two-thirds.
of Care Protocol--this requires that an assessment be completed
and approved at the regional level before a child can be served in specialized
foster care. A thorough revision of the protocol to improve validity
and reliability of the instruments began in FY97 and will be completed
in FY98. Beyond the promotion of well-being, this management initiative
was expected to reduce state costs.
Out-of-State Placements--to give permanency efforts a community
base, DCFS in FY97 worked with members of the Child Care Association
of Illinois to develop more in-state resources for children who need
residential care. This has helped reduce the number of out-of-state
placements from nearly 800 in May 1995 to about 330 by the end of FY97.
The Department hopes to further reduce such placements by the end of
and appropriate, the Department seeks to place foster children in homes
of relatives. This helps ensure continuity of culture and community for
them. When such placements cannot be made, the Department then seeks to
place children in non-relative homes in the same school district or community.
When possible, those placements are made with foster parents of the same
ethnic background and religious faith as the child. The same principle
holds true with adoptive placements, although permanency efforts are not
delayed for children if such placements are not available. To assess its
multi-ethnic placement needs, the Department in FY97 conducted LAN-by-LAN
demographic analyses of its anticipated resource needs. The results will
inform FY98 resource and program development efforts.
there are no recognized Indian tribes or tribal organizations based in
Illinois, the Department pays special attention to the service needs of
Indian children. A work group meets periodically in Chicago with representatives
of Indian community organizations. The group formed in FY97. At its meetings,
service issues are discussed and DCFS compliance with the Indian Child
Welfare Act is evaluated.
the Department's primary means of tracking the well-being of children
and families that it serves is the Administrative Case Review system.
Under terms of the new strategic plan, it will also assess individual
and family well-being by measuring the plan's outcomes. Those measures
are detailed in Chapter VI of the Child and Family Services Plan.
II: Policy and Administrative Changes
administrative changes in FY97 focused on improving service coordination.
For example, the Department required LANs to develop and organize activities
under the Family Centered Services Initiative so they can serve
intact families identified as at risk of abusing or neglecting their children.
Field models for this new direction were designed with LAN co-conveners
and a statewide work group. To enable the resulting programs, the Department
for the first time awarded FCS service grants to all 62 LANs.
Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS), an entirely
new means of managing client and service data, entered the field testing
stage in FY97. This new system will enhance service coordination by automating
most statistical records keeping, casework and diagnostic information,
and court reporting for caseworkers. It will also provide detailed service
and client demographics reports for agency management. DCFS as well as
private agency staff will have access to the system. It will also be compatible
with data systems of other agencies. Its development has been funded,
in part, by match from HHS. Full statewide implementation of the new system
is set for FY99.
and families whose needs cross agency boundaries, DCFS joined with other
state human service departments in FY97 to field test five community-based
collaborations, also known as Federation Sites. By coordinating
information and services, these new partnerships will promote the "one-stop
shopping" approach to service provision. They were a recommendation of
the Governor's Task Force on Human Services Reform. Their funding mix
is comprised of a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, from grants
and staff support by state agencies, and from grants and in-kind support
by the collaborating community entities themselves.
the Department's Preparing for Adult Life (PAL) program, the Illinois
Independent Living Initiative, was decentralized. Coordination responsibilities
are now vested in the LAN liaisons. This was done to enhance coordination
at the community level.
FY97, DCFS worked with other state human service agencies to plan for
establishment of the new state Department of Human Services on
July 1, 1997. The planning included the orderly transfer of most DCFS
day care and youth service programs to the new agency. It also entailed
development of cross-agency data management capability to promote the
"one-stop shopping" approach to serving families.
service coordination at the federal level, DCFS in late FY97 began developing
a partnership agreement with Region V of the Administration for
Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Essentially, the agreement is a cooperative bill of particulars acknowledging
the specific mutual expectations of DCFS and HHS.
III: Training and Staff Development
Welfare Training Institute is the Department's staff development office.
Its role is to plan, coordinate, and implement training and staff development
programs required by state and federal law. Annually, its programs reach
20,000 people. These include DCFS and private agency staff, adoptive and
foster parents, and other people involved in the delivery or management
of services. Funding comes from Title IV-E, state government, and private
sources. Indirect and in-kind support from public colleges and universities
is used for federal match purposes.
is designed to improve the quality of foster and adoptive care and improve
employee job performance. It is based on needs analyses which reveal employee
strengths as well as deficiencies. Most of it addresses one or more of
the following concerns: job knowledge, job skills, values of DCFS and
the social work profession, employee motivation, and attitudes that illustrate
fairness, ethical behavior, cultural sensitivity, and concern for quality
are summaries of major training programs conducted in FY97 or slated for
FY98. A comprehensive schedule is attached to this report in the APPENDICES.
in FY97 launched a clinical practice training program for all direct service
staff and their supervisors. The curriculum includes six weeks of in-class
training. All affected staff are expected to complete it within the next
two years. The course is conducted by the Child Welfare Institute of Atlanta,
Georgia. Topics covered include effecting change, engagement-assessment-intervention
practices, permanency issues, family systems, child safety strategies,
family communication, interviewing, social networking, risk factors, substance
abuse and treatment, screening family members, goal development, and LAN
resources. Following clinical practice training, child protection investigators
and supervisors in FY98 will receive an additional week of specialty training.
As in FY97
and past years, new adoption staff for DCFS and private agencies will
receive three weeks of Adoption CORE training during FY98. In addition,
training on the Cook Regions' redesign of adoption services will be provided.
It will be geared toward adoption workers, placement supervisors and placement
workers. For adoption staff statewide, the Department will also hold an
annual adoption services conference.
for family preservation and reunification specialists were held in FY97.
Topics included family systems, substance abusing families, program history
and philosophy, working with families in crisis, moving families toward
self-empowerment, and general orientation to the Department. A similar
number of workshops will be held in FY98.
As in past
years, licensing, management, clerical and other support staff will receive
general orientation and skills training in FY98. Continuing education
will also be stressed. For example, 100 staff will take part in the Social
Work Education Program (SWEP), the Department-sponsored program to obtain
Master of Social Work degrees. Since earning an MSW became a supervisory
requirement in FY94, 280 staff have successfully completed that program.
Division of Administrative Case Review receive regular training in new
initiatives and trends in social work practice. In addition, the division
in FY98 will take part in the field testing of a curriculum developed
by the EQUIP Project of the National Association of Foster Care Reviewers.
Later in the year, the division will also field test new foster care review
training initiatives that began in FY97 and will continue in FY98 include:
It--a course in recognizing and treating sexually abusive behavior
among children and youth. Direct service staff will be taught the basic
course in the spring of 1997. Beginning in FY98, 300 supervisors will
receive additional training so they may be certified as in-office consultants
to other staff. In time, training for foster and adoptive parents will
also be developed.
Guardianship--instruction for DCFS and private agency staff in how
to identify and prepare candidate families for subsidized guardianship
under the new federal waiver.
Partnership--a collaboration between DCFS and accredited MSW programs
in Illinois. Each school works with an assigned region. The goal is
to develop training to bridge the gap between what staff learn in college
and what they need on the job. Grand Rounds, forums at which
field staff learn from case presentations and direct discussions with
senior clinical staff and other experts in specialty areas are one of
the first products of this partnership.
Development Coordinators--regionally-based staff who help create
and implement individualized professional development plans for staff.
They are aided by Field Teachers. These are licensed clinical
social workers retained on a contractual basis to address specific individual
training needs. By early FY98, nearly all staff will have direct access
to Field Libraries. These were established by the DCFS Office
of Professional Development in FY97. They consist of books, articles,
journals, videos, self-training modules and computer-based materials
on a full range of social service subjects.
Testimony--a blend of lecture and moot court practicum developed
by the DCFS Office of the Inspector General. Presented by DCFS and private
attorneys, it covers legal as well as social work issues. It will complement
other new training on mentally ill parents.
and Parenting Teens--a curriculum to help DCFS meet the needs of
young people in its care who are pregnant or parenting teens. Direct
service, supervisory and support staff from DCFS as well as private
agencies must complete it. It began in FY97 and will continue through
Placement and Family Visitation--training for child welfare staff
on revised Department policy on family visits and sibling visits and
placements. It will take place from May through August of 1997.
Leadership Conference and Technical Assistance Network--Both
of these programs directly support the Family Centered Services Initiative.
The goal of the conference, held in March 1997, was to promote parents'
involvement in LAN-based service planning by enriching their leadership
and meeting management skills. The network is an ongoing collaboration
between the LANs. Through it, they share problem-solving expertise in
addressing issues of mutual concern.
Training--training for private agency foster care staff on various
procedures and practices.
to staff training, the Department provides or facilitates training for
foster and adoptive parents. Prospective foster or adoptive parents are
required to complete a 27-hour training program called Foster/Adopt
PRIDE before they are licensed. It focuses on the five competencies
of foster parenting: protecting and nurturing children, connecting children
to safe and nurturing relationships, working as a member of a professional
team, meeting children's developmental needs, and supporting relationships
between children and their families. PRIDE also includes a 10-module in-service
training series whose topics include children's developmental needs, using
discipline, working with the sexually abused child, working as a professional
team member, working with the biological family, promoting children's
identity, promoting permanency outcomes, managing the impact of placement
on the family, and understanding the effects of chemical dependency on
children and families.
Foster/Adopt PRIDE, persons who want to adopt must also complete an additional
12 hours of instruction called Adoptive Parent Certification Training.
Beginning in FY97, this training was based on an Illinois-specific
manual developed by Spaulding for Children.
funds several additional training activities for foster parents
and staff from DCFS and private agencies. These include the Illinois Foster
Parent Association Fall Conference, the DCFS/IFPA Leadership Symposia,
and the Statewide Foster Parent Conference. Also, region-based training
plans are developed to enhance team building between staff and foster
To help assess
the impact of its various training programs, the Department has established
a monitoring system. For many years, it has featured student self-evaluation
and trainer-directed curriculum evaluation. In FY97, a third on-going
element--on-site spot monitoring--was added to the system.
enhance training, DCFS in FY97 successfully sought licensure as
a social service agency from the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
This means that staff who are licensed by that agency may now count DCFS
training as Continuing Education Units for renewal of their licenses.
The Department is also working on similar arrangements with the Illinois
Nurses Association and the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional
Certification Association. In FY98, it will seek state licensure as a
marriage and family therapy agency.
IV: Research and Evaluation
research and evaluation that it funds or approves through its Office of
the Research Director. It established the office in July 1994 under a
joint appointment agreement with the School of Social Service Administration
of the University of Chicago. Research and evaluation activities include:
Institutional Review Board--In accordance with DCFS rules and procedures,
this board reviews all research involving children served by the Department.
Its members include the Department's medical director, its guardianship
administrator, other agency staff and one outside representative. It
meets quarterly. In FY97, it reviewed some 42 proposals.
Response Activity--This agreement is with Chapin Hall Center at
the University of Chicago. Its purpose is to provide DCFS timely reports
and data analyses on topics requested by the Department. In FY97, the
vendor responded to 22 requests. Subjects included AFDC to DCFS transitions,
agency-level performance, a probability sample for UIC study of plan
goals, discharge tables for foster children, the CANTS-CYCIS match,
and HealthWorks utilization. Chapin Hall also helps prepare the annual
LAN factbook. In this volume, the Department compiles baseline information
and other key indicators on a LAN-by-LAN basis. Each LAN is responsible
for specifying and tabulating its own measures of progress in its annual
plan. The LAN Factbook, however, promotes consistency of such measures.
In FY98, it will include a five-year trend comparison.
Guardianship Waiver Evaluation--The Office of the Research Director
prepared and helped to distribute an RFP for this evaluation. Sixteen
research and consulting firms attended a bidders conference in April
1997. Proposals were due June 27. A selection will be made by July 25.
A research advisory group appointed by DCFS and the Governor's African
American Family Commission will consult with the evaluator. A first
round of data collection on 2,900 families and 5,400 children is set
for the second half of FY98.
Director also serves as the Department's liaison to the Children and Family
Research Center. This joint venture of DCFS and the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign's School of Social Work completed its first full year
of operation in FY97. This included the hiring, after a national search,
of its director. The Center's purpose are to:
with the Department, the capacity to monitor and report on outcomes
of the agency's efforts on behalf of children and families
and carry out a collaborative research agenda to advance public child
welfare reforms and knowledge about child safety, permanency and the
well-being of children and families
funding for collaborative work with the Department
outstanding scholars, practitioners, managers and students to positions
of leadership in child welfare research, administration and education
Center and the Department collaborated on the following research initiatives
- A parent
satisfaction pilot survey of DCFS clients
- The evaluation
of the Child Endangerment and Risk Assessment Protocol (with the American
- A foster
parent satisfaction survey (with the Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern
- A database
linking information on child welfare and child maltreatment (with Chapin
- A phone
survey of LAN planning co-chairs on implementation of the Family Centered
- An evaluation
of the DASA/DCFS Initiative (with the School of Social Service Administration)
- An analysis
of independent living outcomes for foster youth with learning disabilities.
DCFS and the Research Center will continue efforts to enhance the capacity
to monitor and report on outcomes related to children's health, educational
progress and justice. Under a grant from the U.S. Children's Bureau, the
Center will draft instruments for evaluation of relative foster homes.
It will also work with the CWLA's National Research Consortium to identify
outcome measures for evaluating managed care settings. In FY98, the Department
will continue to test and refine the Level of Care Protocol for specialized
foster care. It will also analyze potential effects of welfare reform
on DCFS caseload growth. The results of all these efforts will inform
curriculum development, policy formulation, and clinical practice within
V: Quality Assurance and Baseline Information
independent review, much of the research and evaluation of DCFS must be
external to the agency. However, the Department is also committed to a
comprehensive internal program of quality assurance. A plan to ensure
that commitment was adopted in FY96. It identifies existing monitoring
and reporting activities, develops new linkages and quality initiatives,
and uses information from these sources for corrective action, training,
and planning. Its major elements include:
of accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Services for
Children and Families. This is a national accrediting organization that
has developed standards for child welfare practice to reflect what is
currently recognized as best practice for public as well as private
agencies. The process has been underway since 1995. In FY97, it featured
extensive self analysis, peer review and site visits. Several specific
sites will be accredited this year, with a goal of all sites over four
of an Office of Quality Assurance. This office conducts comprehensive
reviews of DCFS direct service operations and produces and evaluates
outcome information. A field review unit in the office conducts comprehensive
reviews based on direct observation. A program analysis unit analyzes
Department programs using the agency's computerized information systems.
During FY97, the office coordinated the COA accreditation process. It
also developed outcome measures and indicators related to the new CFS
plan. During FY98, it will be involved in the effort to evaluate effectiveness
of the agency's front end redesign initiative.
of regional reviews. Throughout FY97, DCFS executive staff met quarterly
with management staff of each region to review performance data and
discuss other region-specific issues.
of Agency Performance Teams. These were established in Cook County
during FY97 as part of the Department's redesign of its purchase of
service system. Their purpose is to monitor and evaluate performance
of private agencies that provide placement services for Cook County
of Quality Councils. A statewide quality council was established
in FY97 to act as an advisory board on the planning and administration
of quality assurance programs. Regional quality councils and plans also
began development during the year. Their goal will be to meet or exceed
COA requirements. They will entail a formal peer review process, as
well as fatality, placement, and utilization reviews.
to these state-based quality assurance efforts, the Department continued
its participation in a pilot program audit with the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services during FY97. The process began with an agency
self-study in early 1996. It included extensive site visits by HHS. In
FY97, DCFS submitted its responses to HHS findings. Until now, periodic
performance reviews by HHS focused almost exclusively on state foster
care programs. The new model, however, covers all federally funded programs
administered by DCFS. It will continue in FY98.
agency functions related to quality assurance are discussed elsewhere
in this report. They include administrative case reviews, performance
contracting, the LAN factbook and SACWIS development. All will continue
VI: Services Offered by DCFS
Protective Services are those pertaining to the receipt of allegations
of child abuse or neglect, the investigation of such allegations, and
follow-up response. DCFS operates a State Central Register which receives
and tracks reports. DCFS field staff investigate the reports. Follow-up
services are provided by DCFS, other public agencies, and various private
Maintenance Services enable a family to remain intact (or reunite)
by preventing further harm to a family's children and stabilizing the
home environment. They are designed to promote safe, nurturing homes in
situations where families have experienced stresses that impair their
parenting abilities. Depending on the individual needs of a family, different
combinations of services are used. They may include counseling, advocacy,
emergency caretakers, homemakers, child care, family planning, parenting
training, self-help groups, emergency shelter, and substance abuse treatment
Care Services involve placing a child in a foster family home, group
home or institution. They are not intended as permanent living arrangements
for the child, but as a core service to protect the child while the ultimate
goal of returning the child home or developing another permanent living
situation is pursued. Substitute care placements are selected to provide
secure, nurturing, and homelike settings, preferably in a child's home
community. When it is not possible to return a child home and ensure protection,
the Department seeks to create a new family through adoption. Longterm
foster care with relatives or other foster parents is also considered.
For selected older youth who have demonstrated the capability and expressed
the desire to live on their own, independent living services are considered
a transition to legal adulthood.
Services are provided by DCFS or its contractors. They include recruitment
and preparation of prospective adoptive parents, preparation of the child
for placement, pre- and post-placement counseling for the child and family,
adoptive subsidies for special needs children, and post-legal adoption
Centered Services are those provided under terms of the federal Family
Centered Services Initiative. They may consist of support services, preservation
services, or a blend of both. Support services are preventive in nature
and directed toward a general population, such as all young parents in
a community. Preservation services help stabilize troubled families in
times of risk, crisis or other special need. Both kinds of service build
on family and individual strengths. Both are planned and provided at the
Services are aimed at non-wards who might otherwise become involved
in the state's child welfare or juvenile justice systems. Most are planned
and delivered at the community level. They include crisis intervention,
delinquency prevention and intervention, emergency shelter, help for pregnant
and parenting teens, and transitional services for homeless youth. Independent
living training and a combination of other services known collectively
as Preparation for Adult Living are provided to children in DCFS care.
Such services are reimbursable under Title IV-E. During the most recent
reporting period, they reached some 3,000 children. Except for PAL and
other programs directed specifically toward agency wards, most youth services
will be transferred to the new Illinois Department of Human Services on
July 1, 1997.
Services are defined as the direct care and supervision of children
inside or outside of their own homes during any portion of a 24-hour period.
They are intended to ensure that the custodial and developmental needs
of children are met. Effective July 1, 1997, the administration of most
day care services will transfer to the new Department of Human Services.
Only those day care services related to child protection and foster care
will remain under the purview of DCFS.
discussed in this section are available on a statewide basis to those
eligible or in need.
VII: Maintenance of Effort (Non-Supplantation)
of Illinois, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Local
Area Networks and other contractors to DCFS will not use any funds received
under the Child and Family Services Plan to supplant other sources of
funds. Audits of all service grants or contracts will be conducted to
document the level and appropriateness of expenditures. Maintenance of
effort by LANs will be measured during assessment of their service grants.
Maintenance of effort at the state level will be attested to in this and
subsequent Annual Progress and Services Reports.