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  Foster Parent Law  

2007 Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan Honors

2007 Foster Parent Law Executive Summaries
On May 18, 2007 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 2007 Foster Parent Law implementation plans. Implementation plans are required by the Foster Parent Law, which is described below.

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 official 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.

The four foster care agencies and one DCFS region having the top-scoring 2007 Foster Parent Law implementation plans have submitted the following executive summaries describing the highlights of their 2007 implementation plans:

FIRST PLACE TIE - Beatrice Caffrey Youth Services - 103.993 points
The most successful element of this year's Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan was the in-service training for the foster parents. Foster parents assisted with developing the curriculum by giving input on topics that will enhance their ability to care for the foster children. The BCYS Clinical Department conducted the majority of training along with other service providers.

Foster parents are more trustworthy toward service delivery. Our relationship with the foster parents has been tremendously improved by the use of quarterly surveys and support from the agency.

Our overall goal when developing this plan was to focus on the deficiencies, making revisions and changes. We felt the quality of improvement was addressed when developing the plan and having realistic expectations of the plan.

FIRST PLACE TIE - Casa Central- 103.993
The 2007 Casa Central Implementation Plan is a success due to the commitment the Child Welfare Team has to the well-being, safety and permanency of our foster children. One key issue addressed was updating the Foster Care Grievance Policy so that the supervisor may respond to a foster parent grievance within 48 hours. This delineated timeline was discussed and implemented on the basis of the Implementation Plan Committee meeting where team members discussed the need to have a more prompt response to concerns involving foster parents and foster children. A second key to the success of the FY' 07 plan is the development of additional resources to satisfy Foster Parent Law right number eight (8) "The right to be notified of scheduled meetings…" As per Casa Central's policy, during each monthly home visit to the foster home the primary caseworker meets with foster parent(s) in order to discuss and review any/all current case planning activities as related to foster child(ren) and the established permanency goals and objectives. To further ensure that our foster parents are being informed and receiving information regarding scheduled meetings, staffings, etc. via the notification of scheduled meetings form, the licensing department will add to their six-month monitoring home visit form the point, "Are foster parents being informed." If they are not being informed, the licensing coordinator will discuss with the clinical supervisor the issue/concern so it can be addressed immediately. This will ensure a proper check and balance between the child welfare team. A third key to success is the "Red Child Folder," a resource used to keep current and new foster parents informed of policies and procedures. The folder is given to foster parents at the time of initial placement to maintain policies and procedures as well as emergency contact information and identifying information on the foster child. Foster parents report that this is a useful tool in maintaining information in a centralized location. Families are consistently reminded of the importance of maintaining accurate records via visits, staff meetings, training etc. These changes and improvements are just some of the key highlights that have made this plan a success.

FIRST PLACE TIE - DCFS Cook North - 103.993
The Cook North Regional Implementation Plan is the result of an annual collaborative process with our foster parent community, licensing and casework staff, supervisors and regional administration. Recommendations for enhancements to the next year's plan are developed through discussions of our successes, challenges, and changes in policy and practice. These changes and suggestions are then incorporated into the upcoming plan, discussed in our annual report, and 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.

SECOND PLACE - Hephzibah Children's Association - 103.960
The past year of foster care at Hephzibah has focused on utilizing the teamwork and leadership strengths of our foster families in meeting the changing needs of the children and families that are served in our foster care program. Hephzibah has successfully utilized foster parents as leaders and empowered them to utilize their individual strengths and experiences to provide successful family experiences for children in foster care. The Foster Parent Advisory Committee at Hephzibah has developed into a cohesive group that has direct participation in important decisions made by the agency. As a result of this committee, many new programs, services and supports were developed and implemented for Hephzibah families. The overall goal this past year of teamwork and leadership has truly made our foster parents agents of success.

THIRD PLACE - Kids Hope United - 103.950
Kids Hope United's mission is to protect children and strengthen families. In order to ensure that there is open communication and team-building between the agency and our foster parents, we have utilized the Foster Parent Law Committee as a mechanism to develop and implement a series of expectations and responsibilities that bridge any gap that may exist. Our committee is comprised of foster parents and agency staff that worked collaboratively to achieve an honest and meaningful document that allows all interested parties to make informed decisions. We have utilized a team approach to provide an avenue in which each stakeholder serving our children has a voice.

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