-- A member of the DCFS Statewide Youth Advisory Board (SYAB)was honored
at the Child Welfare League of America's March annual conference. Board
President April Curtis received the 2002 National Kids to Kids Service
Award in recognition of her work with foster youth to improve the Department's
ability to meet the needs and concerns of children in DCFS care. Curtis'
initial efforts grew out of her involvement with the Teen Scholars Program
at the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian. She was honored at a
CWLA dinner in Washington, DC on March 7.
Curtis, a DCFS scholarship recipient completing studies at the University
of Illinois-Urbana, is a research assistant for University of Illinois-Chicago
Professor Mark Testa. Curtis is working with Testa (who is also the Department's
Research Director) on a survey process to identify the needs of foster
youth as they age out of the child welfare system.
also serving her first term as President of the Statewide Youth Advisory
Board, where she has led the Board to regained vitality and importance
as advocates and advisors to the Department. She credits DCFS Director
McDonald's sincerity and vision for improved child welfare services for
her decision to pursue a career in child welfare. She also acknowledged
Sidney Foulks of the Chicago Area Project and Carolyn Thomas of the Cook
County Office of the Public Guardian for their support and guidance.