October 12, 2004 - The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
reached a historical benchmark in social work by becoming the first state
agency to earn reaccreditation from the world's leading accreditor of
child welfare services.
nation's largest child welfare agency accredited by the Council on Accreditation
for Children and Family Services (COA), DCFS was recently notified that
it has also become the first state agency to receive reaccreditation -
a sign of its ability to maintain high professional standards over a period
the creation of a child welfare task force in the early days of my administration,
we have vigorously sought ways to make our child protection and foster
care systems more responsive to the needs of the children and families
who depend on DCFS. It's heartening to see what can be done when child
welfare professionals and community leaders work together to raise the
quality bar even higher, but the greatest winners are the children,"
said Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
a time when the needs of children are so great and the availability of
resources so limited," said COA Director Richard Klarberg, "the
reaccreditation of Illinois' Department of Children and Family Services
demonstrates a clear commitment to providing quality services in a quality
environment. The leadership and staff of the Department can, and should,
take great pride in this achievement."
COA accreditation shows that an agency or organization has met the highest
national standards of child welfare practice and provides assurance that
the organization delivers effective services. Clients can also expect
greater participation in decisions affecting their cases, improved case
management and more accountability. Private agencies contracting with
DCFS to provide foster care services must also be COA accredited. In this
past year, accreditation standards also increased, with added emphasis
placed on monitoring service quality. Despite these challenges, DCFS workers
were able to meet the new, more stringent COA requirements, while at the
same time maintaining full caseloads.
2000, when critics were wondering whether departments like ours were too
cumbersome to maneuver a COA accreditation process originally tailored
for smaller operations, DCFS was among the early state agencies that proved
accreditation was both possible and important," said DCFS Director
Bryan Samuels. "Today's reaccreditation sends a message that, even
in difficult times, child welfare agencies can boost the quality of services."
reaccreditation is unique because, unlike many other state agencies seeking
accreditation, it has invited COA peer review teams to conduct three-day
studies of each local field office, as well as their traditional evaluations
of central office operations. The Department has also provided advice
and conducted events that have contributed to the accreditation of other
child welfare agencies around the country. DCFS staff have served as COA
peer reviewers for agencies in other states.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services