May 19, 2006, the Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council sponsored its annual
awards and recognition ceremony for the four foster care agencies and one DCFS
region having the top-scoring 2006 Foster Parent Law implementation plans. Family
foster care is an essential service for children and their families who have been
separated due to child abuse, neglect, or dependency.
Recognizing that foster
parents are an essential part of and fulfill an integral role on the child welfare
team, the Illinois General Assembly determined that there was a need to establish
public policy regarding the rights and the responsibilities of foster parents.
This policy is known as the Foster Parent Law. This law requires that each DCFS
region and every agency providing foster care by contract with DCFS is required
to develop an annual plan to implement the law. This Council (Statewide Foster
Care Advisory Council) is responsible for ensuring that the plans are submitted
and scored each year. Plans must score a minimum of 75 out of 104 points to be
accepted by the Council.
four foster care agencies and one DCFS region having the top-scoring 2006 Foster
Parent Law implementation plans have submitted the following executive summaries.
PLACE TIE- Lakeside Community Committee
1964, Lakeside Community Committee (LCC) has been one of the leaders in social
services, ensuring that children and families are strengthened. The mission of
Lakeside Community Committee is to provide a full spectrum of care to our foster
children, foster parents and biological families and promote the health and positive
growth for children, young adults and senior citizens.
are excited about having submitted one of the top five 2006 Foster Parent Law
Implementation Plans! Success truly is a team effort. The dedication of staff,
foster parents, volunteers and stakeholders have created an environment that enriches
the lives of children and their families. We say 'THANK YOU' to everyone's endeavor.
believe some vital components to our success have been:
· Open Door
Policy - Foster parents, children and biological parents are always welcome to
see a staff member without a scheduled appointment.
· Open Communication
- We promote open communication without the threat of retaliation. We encourage
healthy, open and respectful communication and foster an environment where constructive
feedback is welcomed.
· Reliability - To ensure the Foster Parent Council
has a no cost venue to meet monthly, Lakeside has made its conference room available.
Due to their prominence, the Council members are asked to take an active role
during our monthly foster parent training meetings.
- In the month of May, foster parents (dubbed "Love Parents") are invited
to attend the Lakeside Community Committee Foster Parent Appreciation Luncheon.
We shower them with thanks, love and special rewards for opening their homes,
families and hearts to our foster children. Our foster parents are an integral
part of the child welfare professional team. Without them, this effort of serving
families would cease to exist.
· Accountability - Although it is not
a part of our contract, LCC has always found a way to accommodate our licensed
as well as non-licensed foster parents when it pertains to purchasing beds, mattresses,
and dressers to help provide a safe and comfortable environment.
Community Committee has this great commission to serve the community and we endeavor
to do so. Collaboration of services and teamwork have united us and produced a
harmonious environment for all to enjoy.
PLACE TIE - Catholic Charities of Chicago
quality communication between staff and caregivers and dedication to identifying
and serving children's needs, Catholic Charities Foster Care Services staff and
foster parents work together in a team effort. Caregivers must be willing to share
time and information with team members. Casework and counseling staff must view
the caregivers as equally knowledgeable partners and seek their input. All must
acknowledge their strengths and their needs in order to plan for a child's future.
Through support groups, emergency beeper numbers and various social opportunities,
foster parents are supported in the challenging task of meeting children's needs.
Foster parents share their needs with this agency by attending advisory meetings,
responding to the yearly satisfaction survey, and giving input to Administration
solid knowledge base for decision-making is a key component for quality services.
Information on policy changes, training for skill building and opportunities for
social outlets are provided through presentations, in written articles and video
materials, and through the bimonthly newsletter.
is an honor to be acknowledged for our Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan.
We continue to commit ourselves to excellence and quality service delivery to
children and families.
PLACE - Hephzibah Children's Association
past year of foster care at Hephzibah Children's Association has focused on the
commitment to meeting the changing needs of the children and families that are
served in our foster care program. Hephzibah is consistently carrying out its
mission of using innovative programming to meet the needs of children and families.
Through new programs, specialized training, and committed staff and foster families,
the foster children in our program have been provided with safe, structured, loving
environments for them to flourish. Hephzibah is committed to maintaining positive
supportive relationships with foster parents and children in our program. By focusing
on the foster parent's strengths, they are encouraged to remain committed to the
children in their care.
PLACE - The Baby Fold
Baby Fold views the Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan as a continuous quality
improvement plan. Each year, we strive to provide quality services to our foster
parents and children.
meet monthly as a committee comprised of foster parents and staff (Child Welfare
Specialists/Supervisor, Therapist, Family Development Specialist, Director of
Child Welfare Services, and CEO). We monitor our current plan and look for opportunities
to improve the plan for the upcoming year. Foster parents and staff are our most
valuable resources and we appreciate their feedback and suggestions. We often
implement changes immediately and incorporate them into the upcoming plan.
believe that working together as a united team and striving for perfection in
an imperfect system is what allows us to offer quality services to our children
and foster parents.
PLACE - DCFS Cook North Region, Chicago
regional implementation plan is the result of a collaborative process with our
foster parent community. Annually, the region holds meetings at our three offices
where foster parents, licensing and casework staff, supervisors and regional administration
come together to review the plan from the previous year and make recommendations
for enhancements based on our successes, challenges, and changes in policy and
practice. Suggestions are incorporated into the plan and then implemented over
the next year. Collectively, we work together to support the region's commitment
to enhancing the lives of children and families. We believe that children and
families must be treated with dignity and respect and that they have the right
to receive community-based services that are culturally relevant and linguistically
appropriate. We strive to create and advance an atmosphere of teamwork that is
invested in achieving permanency, safety and well being in the best interest of
children and families.