IL (November 5, 2003) - The Department of Children and Family Services announced
that its newly-created Child Location and Support Unit became fully operational
Wednesday. The Unit, which oversees statewide efforts to locate missing DCFS wards,
will operate around-the-clock, 365 days a year.
"When I accepted
the job as the head of DCFS, I made sure it became known that finding youth missing
from state care was one of my top priorities," said Director Bryan Samuels.
"This unit is the result of the hard work and commitment of the Department
to making sure we bring our youth back into care as quickly as possible, and once
they are back, to make sure they are in placements that effectively serve their
May 13th, Director Samuels convened the Illinois Task Force on Missing Children
to create a statewide strategic plan to track and locate missing wards and review
issues related to youths absent from care. At that time, DCFS listed 409 children
as missing. As of October 31st, more than 80 percent (331) of the original 409
children have been found. There are currently 362 children are missing from approved
innovative Child Location and Support Unit was not only proposed by the Illinois
Task Force on Missing Children, but also by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's DCFS
Task Force, which was convened in February and headed by Bryan Samuels. The Unit
has approximately 14 staff at the Montrose facility, with two additional staff
located in Springfield. The Unit will use a first-of-its-kind Missing Child Database,
which downloads information daily from a DCFS client database and automatically
lists when a child as missing. A photograph and medical information is also added
to the database.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), in partnership with
DCFS, provided training for staff in August to prepare them to swiftly investigate
reports involving missing and abducted children. The NCMEC training sessions focused
on child and family abduction, media relations, recovery techniques, sexual predators,
investigative resources, on-line victimization and agency planning.
of the goal with training was to make sure that staff understood the dangers presented
to children who runaway," said Director Samuels. "Presented with a full
picture of what this population faces, staff could better understand the need
to be more proactive in their search for missing youth."
formal opening of the Unit follows the summer launch of the Department's new 24-hour
Missing Children Hotline. People with information about missing or abducted DCFS
ward are encouraged to call the 24-hour hotline at 866-503-0184.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services