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DCFS Among "Adoption 2002" Excellence Awards Recipients for Second Consecutive Year

Illinois Brings Home 3 of 11 Awards
During Adoption Awareness Month 

CHICAGO, IL, Nov. 30, 1999 -– The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced its November 99 "Adoption 2002" Excellence Awards recipients, and Illinois again out-distanced all other states, winning three of the 11 awards.The Department of Children and Family Services, its research director and Cook County Presiding Judge Nancy Sidote Salyers were named recipients of this year’s "Adoption 2002" Excellence Awards. They were chosen from more than 52 nominations nationwide.

"We’re honored to receive recognition for our permanency endeavors," said DCFS Director Jess McDonald."Moving children into stable, loving families is a priority for DCFS and we thank those who helped us reach our record-breaking accomplishments."

The awards stem from President Clinton’s initiative to double the number of children in foster care who are adopted. Illinois exceeded this goal by tripling adoptions, from 2,229 in Fiscal Year 1997 to 7,315 in 1999. The number of children moved to permanency through subsidized guardianship also increased by 72 percent.

"Individuals in leadership roles, our statewide partners, private agencies, the courts, DCFS staff and foster families worked so hard to move children into permanency that we exceeded our own adoption goal by more than 2,000," said Director McDonald. "We’re also very pleased that 57 percent of all adoptions were by relatives."DCFS Research Director Mark Testa also was one of the 11 winners to receive recognition for his efforts. Testa’s research on relative caregivers was instrumental in identifying relatives as important and viable resources for adoptive families.

Also recognized for her contributions was Cook County Presiding Judge Nancy Sidote Salyers. Judge Salyers has been instrumental in reducing the number of juvenile court cases from 58,000 in 1995 to 26,000 in 1999.
"We applaud Judge Salyers for spearheading numerous initiatives to build collaboration among agencies, decrease 
the time-frame of the judicial processes and create new programs that value families," said Director McDonald.

The "Adoption 2002" Excellence Awards have been given annually for the past three years to honor individuals and organizations that provided loving families and nurturing homes to abandoned, neglected or abused children.

DCFS received news of the 1999 "Adoption 2002" Excellence Awards as the agency and Illinois’ First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan were preparing to honor corporate partners, individuals, judges, legislators and public and private agencies for their efforts that gained DCFS the "Adoption 2002" Excellence Awards in 1998.On Tuesday, November 30, Mrs. Ryan will honor this year’s "Adoption 2002" Excellence Awards recipients DCFS Director Jess McDonald, DCFS Research Director Mark Testa, Cook County Presiding Judge Nancy Sidote Salyers and 50 other Champions in Adoption at a special awards ceremony from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. 


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