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  News  

ILLINOIS IS ONE OF SEVEN STATES
SELECTED FOR PILOT PROGRAM

Participation Aimed at Reducing Incidence of
Child Abuse and Neglect

Washington, 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."

According 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."

Illinois, 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.

The Center 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.

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Contact:
Diane Jackson
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
312-814-6847

 

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