DCFS RECRUITING FOSTER PARENTS
DURING FOSTER PARENT APPRECIATION MONTH
IL, MAY, 1999 -– The state’s child welfare agency is inviting
Illinois families to make a difference in the lives of children by considering
becoming foster parents during May, which has been proclaimed Foster
Parent Appreciation Month by Governor George H. Ryan.
"Whereas, to foster means to nourish, cherish and encourage...,
and whereas foster parents meet a very special need in our society...,
and whereas thousands of caring adults in Illinois have opened their
hearts as well as their homes to provide a loving and stable environment
for more than 40,000 children…, Illinois foster parents deserve
our gratitude and respect for the work they do every day," the
Governor said in his proclamation.
McDonald, Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family
Services, challenged Illinois families to make a difference in the lives
parents are a critical part of a professional team that is frequently
asked to make life-changing decisions for an abused or neglected child,"
Department is always in need of loving, stable homes for children whose
natural parents are not safely caring for them," said McDonald.
"Today, the need for more people willing to take on that vital
role is greater than ever before. We are not just looking for numbers.
We are looking for the right match. There is no better time to consider
becoming a foster parent than during Foster Parent Appreciation Month,
when we take time out to recognize those who dedicate themselves to
this important work."
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is one of the largest
and busiest state child welfare agencies in the nation, with approximately
42,000 children in substitute care statewide. Last year, DCFS was named
State Agency of the Year by the National Foster Parent Association in
recognition of its efforts to recruit and support foster parents.
noting the decline in the number of children in substitute care from
a peak of 51,591 in March 1997 to its present level -- ending two decades
of growth that had seen substitute care numbers more than double, McDonald
stressed that DCFS still needs to recruit more foster homes, especially
those for sibling groups, children with special needs, teen mothers
with children, older children, and minority children.
parent candidates can be either married couples or single persons, renters
as well as homeowners. Those interested must attend training and pass
both criminal and child abuse background checks. Foster parents receive
a monthly allowance that covers the expenses of caring for each child
placed into their home.
real reward of foster parenting, however, is the chance to make a difference
in a child’s life," McDonald said.
interested in becoming foster or adoptive parents can call the Foster
Parent Hotline (800-624-KIDS) or the Adoption Information Center of
Illinois (800-572-2390) for details. To report suspected child abuse
or neglect, the public should call the DCFS Child Abuse Hotline (800-25-ABUSE).