DC, Jan. 25, 2005 - The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) announced
today that Illinois is one of seven states chosen to participate in a
national pilot program aimed at reducing the number of children who are
abused or neglected. The pilot program, "Strengthening Families"
engages early care and education settings in carrying out child abuse
and neglect prevention strategies. This pilot program follows a two-year
study by CSSP on early childhood programs across the country to identify
whether those programs that incorporated factors correlated with reducing
child abuse and neglect showed positive results. According to Judy Langford,
Project Director for the Strengthening Families initiative, "Our
study showed that early childhood programs can be excellent vehicles for
supporting and teaching families about parenting skills and child development
on a daily basis, linking them to needed services and social networks,
and, responding quickly to early warning signs of family stress - all
key ingredients to preventing harm to children." The information
obtained from the study of "exemplary" early care programs forms
the basis for changes in Illinois' early childhood programs. According
to Ms. Langford, "The kinds of changes that we are seeking are not
expensive and do not require large funding measures, but we believe they
have a big pay-off."
to Bryan Samuels, Director of the Illinois Department of Children and
Family Services, "We are particularly excited about the Strengthening
Families initiative and to focus our child abuse prevention efforts in
existing child care settings. We believe that the children in our protection
can greatly benefit from efforts to innovate and improve child care settings.
This initiative also provides the opportunity to increase awareness of
family strengthening as a part of quality child care and potentially reach
over 200,000 children."
along with Alaska, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Missouri, Rhode Island and
Wisconsin, was chosen from among 27 state applications based on the strength
of the State's leadership team, their commitment to dedicate the time
and resources, and their knowledge of how to link the Strengthening Families
initiative with other state program efforts aimed at reducing child abuse
and neglect. "The states that were chosen will provide the model
of linking early childhood programs to strategies known to reduce child
abuse and neglect, and will lead the way for other states to follow"
said Ms. Langford. CSSP plans to provide training and technical assistance
to pilot states as well as the opportunity for them the states to work
closely with one another in implementing the initiative.
for the Study of Social Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy
organization created in 1979 and located in Washington, DC. Their work
promotes policies and practices that strengthen families, build thriving
communities, and promote more equitable outcomes for vulnerable children
and families. To learn more about CSSP and the Strengthening Families
initiative, go to www.cssp.org.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services