IL (May, 2004) - The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
has rolled out a new "Foster Our Future" recruitment campaign
to encourage people to consider becoming foster parents. Governor Rod
R. Blagojevich has proclaimed May as Foster Parent Appreciation Month.
children in foster care is something that should be recognized not just
in the month of May, but year-round," said DCFS Director Bryan Samuels.
"Foster parents have consciously taken on a challenging role that
often requires them to double their load as a parent. We commend them
for their unselfish acts of generosity and love."
is the placement of a child under 18 and in DCFS care in a temporary home
other than his or her own. Common reasons for placement include abuse,
neglect or abandonment. Prospective foster parents can often expect to
be trained and licensed within 90 days. Placement occurs after you receive
Who is eligible
to be a foster parent?
Adults 21 and over are eligible to become a licensed foster parent. They
can be married or single, homeowners or renters, from various cultural/ethnic/religious
backgrounds, and it does not matter if they do/do not have biological
- What is
the role of a foster parent?
and nurture children.
children to safe, nurturing relationships.
- Meet children's
individual, educational, medical and developmental needs.
children's relationships with their birth families.
- Work as
members of a professional team.
me be clear, don't let those five items lead you to believe that that's
all it takes to be a foster parent," noted Director Samuels. "We
know that being a parent is challenging, but our Department has resources
and experienced workers available to help foster parents perform this
very important job. That's why being a foster parent is truly a commendable
thing to do."
number of children in state care continues to decline, new foster homes
are continually recruited to replace foster homes retiring from service,
to meet demands in areas where few foster homes exist, and to serve children
with special needs. Demand is especially great for foster homes that can
serve teens and sibling groups. In fiscal year 2000, there were 31,316
children in state care. That number declined to 20,508 in fiscal year
2003. The current fiscal year data shows that there are 19,297 children
(as of April 30, 2004) in the DCFS system.
who care for children not related to them are required to have a valid
foster care license. However, families who care for children related to
them may choose to provide unlicensed care. In both cases, safety checks
of the home are conducted.
information, call the Foster Parent Hotline at 800-624-KIDS.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services