Illinois Department of Children & Family Services
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Chicago Administrative Headquarters
100 West Randolph Street 6-200
Chicago IL 60601
TTD 312.814.8783

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406 East Monroe
Springfield IL 62701-1498
TTD 217.785.6605

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  40th Anniversary  

40th Anniversary Symposium
Jess McDonald (July, 1990 to January 1991; June 1994 to April 2003)

Jess McDonald reached a series of benchmarks during his tours at DCFS. He is the first Director to begin his DCFS career as a caseworker. He is also the longest-serving Director, and the only Director to serve two terms - in 1990 as an acting Director, and again from 1994 to 2003 as Director.

McDonald continued to implement B.H. consent decree reforms throughout his early administration. He also made a commitment to raise the bar of professionalism within the Department. In 2000, DCFS became the nation’s largest accredited child welfare agency.

McDonald was at the helm when the Department’s hotline handled an unprecedented 139 thousand child reports of abuse and neglect. Yet, through aggressive efforts to find permanent homes for foster children, his administration was able to cut the state’s foster care population my more than half. During this time, DCFS also became the first state agency to offer subsidized guardianship as a permanency option for families.

McDonald’s administration was marked by innovation - from assessment tools adopted nationwide, to the creation of the first web-based child welfare information system for its workers. In recognition of these achievements, the Department and its staff received more awards than any other period of the Department’s history.

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