Richard H. Calica earned a national reputation with over 40 years of leadership experience serving the children and families of Illinois. A national authority in child welfare and a licensed clinical social worker, Calica has decades of experience managing large organizations and broad expertise in risk assessment and child safety, family preservation and support.
Mr. Calica built his national reputation at the Juvenile Protective Association, (JPA), serving as executive director from 1978 until December 2011. Founded in 1901 by Jane Addams and credited with helping create DCFS in 1964, Calica oversaw JPA’s family-centered treatment and counseling programs to ensure the physical and emotional safety of more than 1500 abused, neglected and exploited children each year, primarily from poor and disadvantaged families.
As executive director, Calica helped ensure JPA survived the financial storm that toppled other nonprofits during the recent Great Recession. In addition to eliminating non-core staff and reducing even his own salary, Calica led a strategic-planning process that enabled JPA to focus its limited resources on providing services that delivered measurable results as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Under Governor Jim Edgar, Calica chaired the Governor’s Task Force on Family Preservation from 1993-1994, and he was president of the Child Care Association of Illinois from 1991-1993. Mr. Calica earned the 2001 Commissioner’s Award from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (AYCF) of the Department of Health and Human Services under Governor Ryan for his outstanding achievements in the field of child abuse and neglect prevention in Illinois.
Nationally, Calica is the past president of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work, and he also served on the Child Welfare League of America’s Committee on Standards for Services to Abused and Neglected Children and their Families. Calica is also a member of the Child Welfare League of America and the World Association for Infant Mental Health.
In addition to his nonprofit leadership roles, Calica ran his own private clinical social work practice and was a faculty member of the Institute for Clinical Social Work and at the Loyola University of Chicago School of Social Work, an instructor at the University of Chicago School of Social Administration, and program administrator of Tinley Park Mental Health Center. Calica has consulted nationally and internationally with social workers, attorneys, judges and administrators of county and state child welfare systems on issues related to child maltreatment and protection.
Calica took the helm of DCFS in mid-December of 2011, developing a restructuring plan for the agency in response to the state’s fiscal challenges. At DCFS, Calica has fought to protect and strengthen frontline services that deliver measurable results. At the same time, Calica has pushed for greater efficiency by streamlining the bureaucracy and focusing on programs that protect children and strengthen families. In addition to managing the agency’s day-to-day operations, Calica co-chairs the Child Welfare Advisory Committee to DCFS, which brings together nonprofit leaders from around the state to work with the agency to strengthen the vital infrastructure that protects kids and promotes the safe, stable, loving families they deserve.
Calica earned a Master of Arts degree in social casework from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, and he completed a post-graduate fellowship in clinical social work at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center’s Division of Psychiatry. Calica earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Brooklyn College,
Richard Calica and his wife Judith have been married for nearly 50 years and have one son, now grown.