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2001 Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan
Award Winners Named
Springfield - For the third year in a row, Director Jess McDonald haspresented awards to honor agencies who achieved top scores in their 2001 Foster Parent Law implementation plans. The five winners include the Lakeside Community Committee (Chicago), the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago , Catholic Social Services of Peoria, Baby Fold (Bloomington), and Webster Cantrell Hall (Decatur).

The required 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.

"This award recognizes the importance of supporting foster parents, teamwork, quality assurance and determination. They're all imporant in the work that we do."
Foster parent Wille Green.

(Left to Right) Irwin McEwen, foster parent Irma Young, foster parent Willie Green, Director of Quality Improvement Jackie Sharp and DCFS Director Jess McDonald.
The Lakeside Community Committee. provided narratives that were very thorough and detailed. Its annual report was among the best. Their plan describes a solid approach to monitoring via the foster parent council and the Oversight Committee. Their plan also contains supports for foster parents, such as emergency cash within one hour. The strategy for implementing and distributing the plan could well serve as a model for others to follow.

"The award not only shows that we have a plan that is put together well and in place, but it also shows the very hard work that is put into making the plan a reality."
YMCA Committee Chair Leon Intrater

(Left to Right) Director of Child Welfare Sherise Alexandar, YMCA Committee Chair Leon Intrater, foster parent Joyce Reed, foster parent Brenda Bland, with DCFS Director Jess McDonald.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago scored the highest among all plans submitted. The foster parent involvement in the plan wass excellent, and foster parents serve on the board and other agency committees. The plan, itself, was complete, thorough, and well written. Dignity and respect for foster parentswas interwoven throughout the plan. Among its important features, the plan now requires supervisors to make quick decision on reimbursements.

"The award demonstrates how much we include foster parents in every aspect of our work and the importance of a team approach to foster care."
Support Services Coordinator Ruth Urbanc

(Left to Right) DCFS Director Jess McDonald with Foster Program Support Services Coordinator Ruth Urbanc and Resource Worker Jennifer Walls.

Most narratives in the organization's plan were succinct, thorough, and well written. Thorough sign-off by staff and foster parents suggests broad involvement in developing the plan and broad support of it. Licensing staff give the implementation plan to all foster parents on their first visit each year. The agency offers finders' fees to foster parents who recruit others. Agency management and foster parent leaders train their foster parent council on some aspect of the plan at each of their monthly meetings.


"This award stands for a lot of hard work by staff and foster parents, and it reflects how the people at Baby Fold meet these important responsibilities."
Foster parent John Bowman

(Left to Right) DCFS Director Jess McConald with Director of Child Welfare Services Karen Blum, Supervisor Jean Guy and foster parent John Bowman.

Baby Fold's narratives in the plan were very thorough and detailed, and the organizaiton's annual report was among the best. The plan described various ways of including agency foster parents in its activities.Staff and foster parents were very involved in developing the plan. Monthly co-training for foster parents and staff appear to help forge a teamwork approach to service.
Webster Cantrell Hall

"The award demonstrates how much we include foster parents and the importance of a team approach to foster care."
Clinical Director Mrs. Kevin Morrison Otis

(Left to Right) DCFS Director Jess McDonald with Clinical Director Mrs. Kevin Morrison Otis, Foster Care Director Jane Waller Anderson and Foster Parent Ginny Karl.
Webster Cantrell Hall's board has emphasized their support of the implementation plan by including a policy statement about the plan in the agency's policy manual, as well as in their annual strategic plan. Their plan also provides for quarterly meetings between staff and foster parents. Administrative team meetings also include foster parents, as well as the agency's CEO. The plan is very thorough and well written, and the annual report is one of the best submitted this year.




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