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Safe Child Initiative
Congressman Danny Davis and DCFS Director Jess McDonald unfurl 
a banner highlighting the newly-announced Safe Child Initiative.

DCFS and Congressman Davis
Launch Safe Child Initiative

DCFS Programs to Aid Austin and 
North Lawndale Families in Crisis

Chicago, IL -- March 31,2000 -- Congressman Danny Davis and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Director Jess McDonald, along with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and nine eminent community organizations will announce a collaborative community project on March 31st at 11 a.m. The project is designed to aid families in crisis and protect children in the Austin and North Lawndale communities from abuse or neglect.

The “Safe Child Initiative: Sankofa, Looking Back to Go Forward,” grew from a June 1999 town hall meeting held by Congressman Danny Davis with the National Council of Negro Women as featured participants.  Funded by DCFS, the initiative will aim to develop strategies in collaboration with churches, social service agencies, health providers and citizens in the 7th Congressional District to prevent the unnecessary disruption of families, by helping families in crisis before child abuse and neglect happen. The North Lawndale and Austin communities in Cook County receiving supportive services from DCFS will be directly involved with this pilot project. Currently, 20 percent of the DCFS client population resides in these communities.

 "This project grew directly out of grass roots community concern and activism.  DCFS, churches, social service agencies, health providers and citizens have worked together to find meaningful, effective, innovative responses the urgent needs of our children.  The program is aimed in the first place at assisting and strengthening families - at prevention," said Congressman Danny Davis.  "This project is much more than just a telephone number.  It represents a qualitatively new level of thinking, a new level of co-ordination, a new level of commitment to children in crisis."

 The Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health will manage the implementation of the program. The project involves the creation of a 24-hour, locally based, family support hotline - 1-800-KID-4345. The offices will be located at 3333 W. Arthington. Services will also include a coordinator who will work with families currently involved with DCFS. In addition, project staff will identify resources in the community as referral services for families in crisis.

 “We are excited about providing these services to parents who may not receive it elsewhere,” said DCFS Director Jess McDonald.  “During stressful times, parents need supportive resources to help them deal with the various circumstances that life places in front of them.  We are stepping forward to provide an array of resources directly to this community.”

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Safe Child Initiative Partners

 Congressman Danny Davis

*Faith Community

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I AM ABLE Family Development Corp.

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Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

National Council for Negro Women

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Representative Art Turner

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