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SPRINGFIELD, IL, APRIL 1, 1998 --Eight agencies that administer state-funded programs today were presented awards for their exemplary work in child abuse prevention and reducing infant mortality rates in Illinois.

The awards were presented by Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Howard A. Peters III and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Director Jess McDonald to agencies from Chicago, Springfield, Peoria and Bloomington.

AI believe that prevention services in the community supported by both DCFS and DHS have helped us stem the tide of child abuse reports, " Gov. Jim Edgar said. "The eight programs we honored on the first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month are the state=s partners in reaching out to families in crisis, low-income teens and women lacking access to prenatal care and single mothers and the working poor in need of day care."

"Recent statistics prove that Illinois is moving in the right direction in its fight against child abuse," DHS Secretary Peters said, citing the reduction in infant mortality. The statewide infant mortality rate has declined by 21 percent, from 10.7 infant deaths per 1,000 in 1990 to 8.4 in 1996.

"As part of our efforts in fighting child abuse, the DHS-administered Healthy Families Illinois program targets at-risk parents by providing intensive in-home services that address issues that lead to child abuse," Secretary Peters said. In 1998, DHS funded seven new Healthy Families Illinois programs and expanded services at nine existing providers, bringing the state=s commitment to $2 million.

DCFS Director McDonald emphasized the need to reach out to children who are at risk of abuse or neglect, as well as those who are abused or neglected. "DCFS-supported child abuse prevention efforts, such as the $8.6 million Family-Centered Services program, support community-based family preservation and family support services throughout the state," he said. "We also support parenting training, crisis intervention, public awareness and other prevention activities."

Noting a decline in reports of child abuse or neglect from an all-time high of 139,726 in FY 1995 to 119,444 reports in FY 1997, McDonald cautioned that DCFS still has 13 times the number of cases from 20 years ago. "There are many ways people can help prevent child abuse," he said. "They can become foster or adoptive parents, make a donation to the Illinois Child Abuse Prevention Fund on the state=s income tax check-off program and, of course, report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect by calling our hotline at 800-25-ABUSE."

The Child Abuse Partner Awards were presented to the following:

DCFS Awardees

DHS Awardees

Illinois Central College

"Growing Together" Program

115 SW Adams Street

Peoria, Illinois 61602

Dr. Dorothy Cornish

Springfield Urban League

100 North Eleventh Street

Springfield, Illinois 62703

Howard Veal, Executive Director

Children's Foundation Crisis Nursery

403 South State

Bloomington, Illinois 61702-1163

Nancy Ronquillo, Executive Director

The Chicago Urban League

4510 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60653

Cynthia Williams, Director,

Health and Family Services

Prevent Child Abuse - Illinois

528 South 5th Street, Suite 211

Springfield, Illinois 62701

Don Schlosser, Executive Director

Vermillion County Health Department

200 College Street

Danville, Illinois 61832

Stephen Laker, Executive Director

Chase House

815 West VanBuren

Chicago, Illinois 60607

Virginia Houser, Executive Director

The Children's Home of Peoria

Good Beginnings Center

2130 North Knoxville

Peoria, Illinois 61603

Lori Fuller, Director


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