FIVE FOSTER PARENT IMPLEMENTATION LAW PLAN
fourth year in a row, the Department of Children and Family Services
has presented awards to honor agencies who achieved top scores in their
2001 Foster Parent Law implementation plans.
annual plans are scored on a variety of criteria, including how well
narratives explain how the agency or region implements each of 14 foster
parent rights outlined in the state's Foster Parent Law. Plans must
also describe how the agency helps their foster parents achieve each
of 17 foster parent responsibilities contained in the Foster Parent
Law, and also describe how management includes foster parents and direct
service staff in developing and monitoring the plan.
also requires that the Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council (Council)
review, approve and monitor the plans.
Council members review and approve 90 - 100 plans each year. Members
score plans based primarily on how thoroughly they address all provisions
in the Foster Parent Law and how well the plans seem to work for foster
Following are summaries of the annual implementation plans from the
agencies that received the highest scores for calendar year 2002. Director
McDonald will recognize each agency at a ceremony during the Statewide
Foster Care Advisory Council meeting in Chicago November 15, 2002. He
will also award a $5,000 grant to each agency to train foster parents
and staff on the Foster Parent Law and related issues.
For more information please contact Ray Gates in the DCFS Divison of
Foster Care and Permanency Services at 217/524-2422.
ChildServ Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan for 2002 demonstrates
the Agency's commitment to its 108-year-old mission tp serve children.
The Plan is clear documentation of ChildServ's intentions to continue
working collaboratively with its foster parents as part of the child welfare
team. In addition, it demonstrates the Agency's goal to develop new and
innovative ways to continue and enhance these working relationships.
is a private, not-for-profit child-well being organization affiliated
with the United Methodist Church and registered with the Presbyterian
Children's Homes and Related Ministries (PCHARM). ChildServ was founded
in 1894 as an orphanage in Lake Bluff. It evolved into a multi-site child
well-being organization with several locations throughout Cook, Lake and
DuPage counties. Today, more than a century later, ChildServ continues
in its mission of helping children and their families build better lives
by serving nearly 4,000 children and their families annually. ChildServ's
wide range of programs includes foster care and adoption, residential
group homes, child care, tutoring, early childhood education, and parenting
The development of ChildServ's Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan is
a collaborative effort between our foster parents and staff. Each year
ChildServ holds at least two meetings at which the previous year's plan
is discussed, as well as what changes and/or enhancements can and need
to be made. Once the Plan has been conceptualized and our collaborative
Plan team has completed its formulation; ChildServ staff writes it. In
addition to the Agency's teamwork-driven process, ChildServ's Plan has
traditionally been strengthened due to:
training to foster parents on requested topics
notification of meetings where foster parents are stakeholders
foster parents to be trainers and recruiters
- Full disclosure
to foster parents regarding their foster children
that ChildServ foster parents are treated with dignity and respect
procedures of alleged foster parent transgressions is fair, impartial,
and strictly according to regulation
- All ChildServ
foster parents receive a copy of the Foster Parent Law Implementation
Plan by mail
in-home training of foster parents as needed
and support a Foster Parent Advisory Council
and deliver a well-written Plan.
has demonstrated a high degree of commitment to its foster parents, who
aretreated as partners in ChildServ's mission of helping children and
their families build better lives.
Lakeside Community Committee
Community Committee's mission is to provide a full spectrum of care to
our foster children, foster parents and biological families. Our goal
is to provide quality services by implementing proper support to our children
and families. Lakeside's staff and its foster parents have made considerable
progress toward the goals of creating, monitoring and supporting the plan
as a team. Our agency is committed to its children, their families, foster
parents and staff.
is the philosophy and policy of Lakeside to include foster parents in
all-major aspects of program developments in the agency. The foster parents
affiliated with Lakeside Community Committee are an integral component
of our daily function and are unquestionably viewed as team members. Foster
parents' concerns, skills and knowledge have consistently helped our agency
to achieve success and growth in many community and child welfare endeavors.
Their dedication to children and family concepts is one of the most positive
movements for youths of all ages and backgrounds. Additionally, the Foster
Parent Law continues to serve as a tool to involve foster parents in every
aspect of the fostering experience.
organization's Oversight Committee (made up of representatives from staff,
Board of Directors and foster parents who are on the Foster Parent Council)
is responsible as a team to ensure compliance with the yearly Foster Parent
Implementation Plan. Lakeside staff value our foster parents and staff.
Their suggestions to improve services are taken seriously. Their recommendations
and suggestions are welcomed and when they can be incorporated, they are
Foster Parent Implementation Plan was developed as a collaborative effort
between foster parents and Lakeside's staff. This plan provides the forum
for feedback and improvement to better serve our children. The challenges
have been many, but we have been learning, growing and improving every
step of the way.
parents' input is very important in how services are provided therefore,
a representative from the Foster Parent Council in included in the organization's
Strategic Planning Meetings.
a whole, the staff at Lakeside Community Committee understands that foster
parents are more likely to continue in their role if they feel they receive
support and encouragement from the agency staff with whom they work.
organizarion also stress to the foster parents the importance of working
with foster children and making a true commitment to them. The Foster
Parent Council decided to take on the theme "No Placement Disruptions"
for year 2002. Our foster parents understand how placement disruptions
can affect not only the child, but also his/her behavior in school, their
grades, relationships and other endeavors.
Lakeside Community Committee understands that foster parents play an integral
part of the agency's success and encourage continuous success involving
the Administrators Case Managers and Foster Parents in the development
and oversight of the Plan. This collaboration has given a new meaning
to the term "teamwork". Lakeside's foster parents and staff
are looking forward to another year of providing quality service to our
children and their families, thus renewing our commitment.
Hoyleton Youth and Family Services
Hoyleton Youth and Family Services foster care program is based on a commitment
to meeting the spiritual, physical, emotional and social needs of the
children and families that are served, and emphasizes that foster parents
fulfill an integral role on the child welfare team by both providing care
to children and by promoting the best interest of the child.
commitment is spelled out in detail throughout the Hoyleton Foster Parent
Law Implementation Plan. It begins with the designation of a foster parent
as a voting Board member of the Hoyleton Board of Directors. In that manner,
foster parents can both impact the over-all direction of the agency and
represent the larger group of foster parents in Board decisions. Hoyleton
also sponsors a Foster Parent Advisory Council that meets monthly. In
that format, foster parents can give direct input to agency administration
about the program and its services, and help develop a training plan that
meets their needs. A third vehicle for input from foster parents is the
Satisfaction Survey that is conducted annually. The survey, administered
by the Quality Improvement department, gives foster parents an anonymous
vehicle to express concerns and issues, as well as to identify strengths
and positives. Each program administrator must respond to the Quality
Improvement department about any identified issues, and include a corrective
action plan if appropriate. Comparisons are made from year to year in
order to assure that the agency continues to improve the quality of its
The initial orientation of staff working in the foster care program emphasizes
the importance of the role of the foster parents and helps them understand
that not only do foster parents have the right to give input concerning
services and permanency for the child but they also have a unique set
of skills and knowledge that will enhance the quality of the service planning
and permanency goal of the child. Agency policy requires that foster care
staff meet with the foster parents to review and give input on the service
plan prior to the Administrative Case Review and also regularly schedule
formal staffings concerning their foster child.
Plan also recognizes that foster parents have certain responsibilities.
Of priority importance is to be respectful of the child's biological parents
and background, to keep the foster care worker informed of any significant
issues that arise while they are caring for the child and to advocate
for what they believe is in the child's best interest, even if it may
not be consistent with the agency's position. The Plan emphasizes that
through honest and open communication and discussion of alternative services
and plans, it is most likely that the child's best interests will be served.
Finally, the Plan recognizes that foster parenting is often a stressful
and challenging vocation that requires specialized training and expects
that foster parents will actively participate not only in initial but
also on-going training.
Home Association of Illinois
2002 Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan submitted by the Children's
Home Association of Illinois is a reflection of the agency's program policies
and procedures. Foster parent rights and responsibilities are delineated
throughout program policies, which demonstrates how strongly Children's
Home believes in the inclusion of foster parents in the organization and
delivery of foster care services. Foster parents have a recognized voice
within the agency's system, and they are integral to every aspect of the
and coordination are key elements in delivering high quality foster care
services. This is reflected in Children's Home's Implementation Plan.
Throughout the year regular leadership meetings, support groups, training
opportunities and social events are held with foster parent participation.
These interactions reflect the core essence of foster parent rights and
preparing our Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan, The Baby Fold created
a Foster Parent Committee made up of both foster parents and staff. The
committee meets monthly to discuss issues related to the agency. This
includes working on the Implementation Plan, as well as discussing DCFS
and The Baby Fold policy, program development, and training needs and
opportunities. After receiving the grant last year, the committee worked
together to come up with trainings and activities that would be beneficial
to the agency and the families we serve. The Baby Fold offered the 1-2-3
Magic foster parent training by Dr. Tim Shannon, which was open to all
foster parents from each of the four child welfare agencies in town. This
training explained the 1-2-3 Magic discipline technique. We also hosted
a training by Salvador Gonzalez from the Tax Counseling Project of the
Center for Law and Human Services. The training focused on providing tax
benefits information for foster and adoptive parents. The Baby Fold provided
many family activities throughout the year in order for our families to
have positive interaction and a connectedness to the agency. These activities
included a bowling night, with was held at the Illinois State University
Bowling and Billiards Center. The night included free bowling, shoe rental,
billiards, foosball, air hockey, pizza and pop. We also had an Appreciation
Dinner for all foster parents, which was catered at a local church. We
had guest speakers including Dr. Rob Lusk, Clinical Director at The Baby
Fold and the juvenile judge for McLean County, Judge Ronald Dozier. A
foster family picnic was held at Miller Park, which was supported by the
Kiwanis Club of Bloomington. The picnic offered swimming at the beach,
a jumping castle, games, prizes, and lunch. The Baby Fold is currently
planning to offer a back to school ice cream social in September. The
ice cream social will allow families to enjoy an afternoon of conversation
and treats with others involved with the agency. For those families just
becoming licensed with the agency, the committee has developed a Welcome
Party. This includes a potluck dinner and orientation to the agency. Committee
members prepare dinner and spend time getting to know the new families.
After dinner, the new foster families meet with a Family Development Specialist
to review their Foster Parent Manual, which has been created as a guide
for all foster parents (along with a magnet for their refrigerator that
lists all emergency telephone numbers.) The families are then allowed
to ask any questions they may have about the agency, policies or procedures,
or general fostering concerns. The agency is planning to host Welcome
Parties after the completion of each cycle of PRIDE classes. The Baby
fold is dedicated to providing exceptional care and support for the families
which we serve. It is the hope of the agency that the close interaction
between staff and families through activities and trainings will continue
to support and retain current and prospective families.