11, 2004)-As part of comprehensive efforts to provide the highest quality
of care to the foster children of Illinois, the Department of Children
and Family Services (DCFS) announced today that effective immediately,
no more than three unrelated children would be placed in licensed foster
child in the DCFS system matters and this move shows our continued commitment
to providing these children with placements that best suit their needs,"
said DCFS Director Bryan Samuels. "By limiting the number of unrelated
foster children placed in homes, we are customizing and refining the system
to better care for children. And because DCFS is caring for the lowest
number of youths in 14 years, we can concentrate on the quality of care,
not the quantity."
one percent of the 17,000 children currently in Illinois foster care live
in homes with four or more unrelated children (see attached charts). Almost
60% of licensed foster homes have only one child placed there. Foster
homes currently with more than three children will not be affected by
this new policy, which supports other DCFS initiatives, such as the Integrated
Assessment Program (IAP), designed to optimize successful foster care
key to matching a child with the right caregiver is to make sure we've
got as much up-front information about that child as possible, "
said Director Samuels. "The Integrated Assessment Program will allow
us to look at the wide range of needs of a child and make sure he or she
goes to a place where those needs will be met. The IAP information will
also allow a more comprehensive service plan to be developed for each
child. And because we will be doing a better job of up-front assessment,
you'll see less wards experiencing multiple placements."
Integrated Assessment Program to begin operating statewide by July 2004.
The clinically based IAP will provide a complete mental, physical, social
and educational needs assessment of each child who enters the foster care
system. Independent mental health experts affiliated with academic institutions
will be performing these assessments.
The IAP will
also be used to evaluate children currently in the Illinois child welfare
system, such as chronic runaways, in order to create individualized programs
that best suit their needs.
toward providing high quality services to children in the DCFS system
is possible because Illinois is in a unique position to do so. Currently,
there are 19,500 children in substitute care, the lowest number in 14
years and down from the historical high of over 51,000 in 1997. One key
reason for this low number is because record numbers of youths who entered
the DCFS system found permanent homes through family reunification, adoption
of Distribution of Placements into Foster Homes by Number of
Total Children, Non-related Children and Siblings in the Home on Date
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services