Illinois Department of Children & Family Services
DCFS Facebook Page DCFS Twitter Page DCFS Homepage Illinois Governor's Website

DCFS Links Skip to State LinksSkip to ContactsSkip to Section Links

Home
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
Child Protection
Foster Care
Adoption
Day Care & Early Childhood
Other Services
News
Library
Policy & Rules
Training
Forms
FAQs
About DCFS
Advisory Groups
Employment Opportunities
Inspector General
Contact Us
FOIA Requests
Child Abuse Hotline
800-25-ABUSE
(800-252-2873)

217-785-4020
(for international calls only)

DCFS Info and Assistance
(Advocacy Office)
800-232-3798
217-524-2029

Day Care Information
877-746-0829
312-328-2779

Foster Parent Hotline
800-624-KIDS
(800-624-5437)

Adoption Information
800-572-2390

Youth Hotline
800-232-3798

Missing Child Helpline
866-503-0184
Illinois Home

Inspector General

Agencies, Boards & Commissions

Inspector General
800-722-9124

Chicago Administrative Headquarters
100 West Randolph Street 6-200
Chicago IL 60601
312.814.6800
TTD 312.814.8783

Springfield Administrative Headquarters
406 East Monroe
Springfield IL 62701-1498
217.785.2509
TTD 217.785.6605

Media Inquiries/ Communications Office
312-814-6847

Illinois Putative Father Registry

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Illinois Amber Alert

Illinois Employer Report Form

  Legislation  

Important changes in Illinois adoption law have also taken place. In 1993 Public Act 88-148 was passed to help reduce delays in the adoption process by allowing prospective adoptive parents to file an initial petition for adoption before criminal background and fingerprint checks are finished. In 1993, Public Act 88-20 was passed, declaring as an "unfit" person anyone who is convicted of first degree murder or other listed offenses against a parent of a child they wish to adopt.

In 1994, legislation was signed creating a Putative Father Registry within the Department of Children and Family Services. The Registry was established to give the father of a child the opportunity to officially declare his paternity. The father must contact the Registry within 30 days after a child's birth or give up his rights to consent to or block the child's adoption. The process is aimed at preventing future "Baby Richard" cases by giving a child's father the chance to intervene in the event the mother decides to place the child for adoption. In the "Baby Richard" case, the natural father claimed he wasn't able to assert his rights due, in part, to the mother's deception.

The Illinois Omnibus Permanency Initiative of 1997 (Public Acts 90-27 and 90-28) is among the most significant legislation in the Department's history. In line with shifting trends and a changing national philosophy toward public child welfare services, these bills demonstrate the shared commitment of the Illinois legislature, The Governor's office, the courts, and other interest groups to attain timely permanency outcomes for children. Together these bills,

  • make child safety the paramount consideration in every child welfare decision.
  • force key decisions to be made quickly.
  • require action and heightened participation from everyone involved, including parents, judges, lawyers, and caseworkers.

Key Provisions of Permanency Initiative:

  • Requires judges to admonish parents of their responsibilities to cooperate with DCFS, comply with their service plans, and correct the conditions that resulted in their child's placement, or risk termination of parental rights. This admonishment will be given at the shelter care hearing, first appearance, the adjudicatory and dispositional hearings.

  • Requires judges to consider earlier termination of parental rights for cases in which parental whereabouts are unknown or parents are found in default after receiving service and notice of the proceedings.
  • Provides that after the dispositional hearing, the court may require that an attorney appointed for an indigent parent withdraw from the case if the parent refuses to participate in subsequent court proceedings.
  • Clarifies that when return home is not selected as a child's permanency goal, DCFS is not required to provide further reunification services and encourages the State's Attorney to proceed with termination of parental rights or to seek private guardianship for the child.
  • Clarifies that family reunification is not necessary in cases when it is not reasonable to do so (i.e., cases in which a child or sibling of a child was abandoned, tortured, or chronically abused).
  • Emphasizes that concurrent planning should be considered to attain permanency as soon as it becomes evident that the parent cannot or will not correct the conditions that resulted in a child's placement. This is especially important for those cases in which prognosis for return home appears poor at the onset of a case.
  • Requires that the first permanency hearing be held within 12 months from the date the child entered foster care, and every six months thereafter. Empowers judges to establish the permanency goal for a child and requires frequent reviews to examine the family's progress. Establishes permanency goals and factors to consider when setting the permanency goal.
  • Shortens time frame from 12 months to 9 months after adjudication that a parent must make reasonable progress to correct the conditions which led to the removal of the child or reasonable progress toward the return of the child or risk termination of parental rights.
  • Clarifies that abandonment of a newborn infant in a hospital or other setting constitutes grounds to obtain termination of parental rights. Also, for children in DCFS custody, rights can be terminated when a parent who is incarcerated has shown a lack of interest in the child, or when the parent has been repeatedly incarcerated as a result of criminal conviction which prevents the parent from discharging parental responsibilities for the child.
  • Requires the Guardian ad Litem to have at least one face to face interview with the child and one contact with a current foster parent before adjudication, again before the first permanency hearing, and then at least once each year thereafter.
  • Requires that an aftercare plan be developed and presented to the judge when the goal of return home is recommended. Provides that, when returning a child home, the court can order physical examinations by a licensed physician at periodic intervals.
  • Provides that DCFS may issue waivers to current foster parents and relative caregivers who are providing a safe, stable home environment, which will allow them to continue to be caregivers despite previous criminal activity, provided that the criminal activity occurred more than 10 years ago and the applicant previously disclosed the criminal activity. [Note: Illinois has elected to make 42 U.S.C. 671 (20)(A) inapplicable in this State.]
  • Provides that the State of Illinois will join the Interstate Compact on Adoption on January 1, 1998.

Other Efforts to Enhance Permanency for Children.

DCFS has implemented many administrative changes to enhance timely permanency decisions for children. Many innovations are the result collaborative efforts involving DCFS, individual county courts, and court participants. Some examples are listed below.

  • Extended Temporary Custody Hearings.
    A Cook County innovation, this redesigned custody hearing includes a joint interview of witnesses by all attorneys, resulting in a less adversarial environment and better information upon which to make decisions. Intensive scrutiny is given to the necessity for removing children from the home, DCFS efforts to prevent removal, and the service needs of the children and parents. Follow-up workers are now required to attend the Extended TC hearings.
  • Family Conferences
    are being conducted in selected Cook County courtrooms as a pilot program. A Conference is conducted approximately 55 days after the Extended TC hearing to discuss the service plan and progress to date. The court outlines the progress expected to ensure that the child can be safely returned home and sets a target date for the return home, if appropriate. The intent of the Conference is for all parties to agree on the direction of the case and to avoid unnecessary delays in achieving permanency.
  • On-Site Substance Abuse Assessments.
    DCFS issued an RFP for a contractor to provide assessments and referrals on-site at the Cook County Juvenile Court. This will save valuable time in obtaining referrals for the identified families.
  • Successor Guardianship.
    DCFS received a federal waiver to offer Subsidized Guardianship as an additional permanency option for children. This new option provides for subsidized legal guardianship of the child, without termination of parental rights. DCFS began using this permanency option on January 1, 1997. At the end of December 1997, nearly 500 children had been moved to subsidized guardianship. About 86% of these were from Cook County.
  • Performance Contracting
    has been instituted to require permanency outcomes in all Cook County DCFS and private agency Home of Relative (HMR) caseloads. All agencies on contract to perform casework services must also provide adoption services.
DCFS Wards
Adopted
FY 1976-2007
Fiscal Year Adoptions
Consummated
2007
1,682
2006
1,670
2005
1,867
2004
2,137
2003
2,795
2002
3,393
2001
4,208
2000
6,281
1999
7,275
1998
4,293
1997
2,229
1996
1,961
1995
1,640
1994
1,200
1993
1,034
1992
724
1991
708
1990
788
1989
719
1988
718
1987
714
1986
763
1985
812
1984
945
1983
900
1982
798
1981
555
1980
475
1979
471
1978
558
1977
762
1976
1,029

Adoption Links

Legal Resources
Illinois Licensed Adoption Agencies
DCFS Provides Adoption Subsidies To Eligible Non-Wards
Reforms
Legislation
Illinois Adoption Advisory Council
Adoption Information Center of Illinois (outside link)
Confidential Intermediary Services of Illinois (outside link)
Midwest Adoption Center (outside link)
Illinois Putative Father Registry (outside link)
Search the DCFS Web Site
Copyright © 2009 DCFS DCFS Privacy Notice / Disclaimer | Illinois Privacy Info | Kids Privacy | Web Accessibility | Plug-Ins | Contact Us