IL, APRIL 8, 1998 --Gov. Edgar today joined representatives of the Illinois
Hospital and HealthSystems Association (IHHA) and child welfare leaders
to announce a major adoption recruitment initiative benefiting children
in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services.
"This program is an ideal marriage of the public and private sectors,
working to give these children a chance to have secure and loving families,"
the Governor said.
Partnerships for the Recruitment of Adoptive Families, an initiative
first detailed in Gov. Edgar’s Jan. 28 State of the State address,
develops partnerships between local child welfare agencies and corporations
in their communities to recruit adoptive families.
participating corporation will work with a local child welfare agency,
or with DCFS directly, to plan recruitment activities aimed at encouraging
their employees to adopt. DCFS will also support the corporations
by providing technical support and training, as well as posters, banners,
brochures and other recruiting materials.
is already a national leader in adoption recruitment," the Governor
said, noting that the state will exceed President Clinton’s challenge
for states to double adoption rates by the year 2002.
our attention is not focused on meeting artificial goals. We’re
trying to meet the real world needs of thousands of children waiting
to be adopted, and this initiative will help us recruit families who
are willing to open their homes and hearts to these children,"
the Governor said.
to DCFS figures, more than 1,400 children currently living in foster
homes and other kinds of substitute care now have adoption as their
"permanency" goal and are not currently living in an adoptive
placement. This goal remains even though 2,841 children were adopted
during the first eight months of the current fiscal year—a 140
percent increase in adoptions compared to the same time period a year
need more adoptive homes because we have more children with adoption
goals," said DCFS Director Jess McDonald. "And there are
a series of new reforms at work that we expect to raise the number
of adoptable children even higher than it is now."
Chairman of the DCFS Child Welfare Advisory Committee, and Executive
Director of Catholic Charities said "we are excited about this
new initiative especially the opportunity to partner with our health
care colleagues. The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
is working energetically with the St. Joseph Hospital to achieve successful
adoption results for children badly in need of loving and permanent
explained that the Permanency Initiative legislation that he signed
last July has enacted reforms that will free more abused and neglected
children for adoption more quickly.
resulting from the legislation include the elimination of long-term
foster care as a permanency goal for the children in DCFS care; shorter
timetables for parents to show they are willing and able to correct
the conditions that led to abuse or neglect of the children; and more
factors that can lead to the expedited termination of parental rights.
expect to finalize the adoptions of nearly 4,000 DCFS wards during
the current fiscal year," McDonald said. "But while that
far exceeds the record 2,229 adoptions set last year, the demand for
more adoptive homes will grow even faster as the full effects of these
reforms are achieved. And the biggest winners will be the children
who will no longer have to languish year after year in a child welfare
system that was never meant to be a permanent home."
Crowther, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Illinois Hospital
and HealthSystems Association, said his organization chose to become
the first corporate partner to join the Governor’s initiative
because hospital employees offer special advantages as adoptive parents.
pleased to be the state’s first partner in this Initiative. It’s
a natural for hospitals—it fits right in with our mission of
strengthening communities, helping families, and meeting social needs.
People who work for hospitals tend to be compassionate, service-oriented
folks who want to help people, and many of them would make wonderful
adoptive families. We’re delighted to be able to help find loving
families for these children."
welfare agency partnerships have already been formed in Chicago and
Peoria. Catholic Charities of Chicago has teamed up with Catholic
Health Partners doing business as St. Joseph Hospital to recruit adoptive
homes for children in that private agency’s caseload. The Jewish
Children’s Bureau has partnered with Mount Sinai Hospital and
Medical Center of Chicago. Lutheran Social Services of Illinois’
partners are Bethany Hospital and Trinity Hospital. Lakeside Community
Committee has partnered with LaRabida Children’s Hospital &
Resource Center. Volunteers of America’s partner is Children’s
Memorial Hospital, and Children’s Home and Aid Society has a
partnership with Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
the OSF St. Francis Medical Center and the Methodist Medical Center
of Illinois are partnering with four private child welfare agencies;
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Counseling and Family Services,
Children’s Home Association, and Catholic Social Services.
partnerships represent only the start of an initiative that will eventually
touch communities statewide," the Governor said. "I am asking
other corporations and associations to join IHHA and its members in
supporting Corporate Partnerships for the Recruitment of Adoptive
Families. We are all stakeholders in the futures of Illinois’
children, and this Initiative will help change young lives."
McDonald added that DCFS is working hard to make the adoption process
faster and easier for prospective families.
and technical adoption assistance may be available both before and
after a child in DCFS care is adopted. An adoption hotline (800-572-2390)
is available to answer questions and to help families begin the adoption