BUDGET FOR CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES SUPPORTS CONTINUED
PERMANENCY FOR CHILDREN
George H. Ryan today proposed a $1.4 billion fiscal year 2001 budget for
the Department of Children and Family Services, which includes $59.5
million to fund a net increase of 5,200 children through the subsidized
adoption and guardianship programs.
Early in the fiscal year the Department will pass an important
milestone when the number of former wards of the state supported in
loving, permanent homes through adoption and guardianship subsidies
exceeds the number of children supported in substitute care placements.
the end of fiscal year 1997 there were 50,727 children in substitute
By the end of fiscal year 2001 there will be just 27,330 children
in out-of-home care, a 46 percent reduction in just four years.
The state will then have fewer children in custody than at any
point since April 1992.
By contrast, there were only 11,539 children receiving adoption
and guardianship subsidies at the end of fiscal year 1997.
At the end of fiscal year 2001 there will be 36,795, a 218.9
Illinois led the nation in the growth in the number of adoptions
completed in 1998 and again in 1999.
The state has moved from being a low performer in the proportion
of children adopted each year to the best in the nation.
changes that have taken place in the state’s child welfare system have
been truly remarkable,” Ryan said.
“The reforms of DCFS have resulted in dramatically better
government services, but most importantly, they have improved the lives
of thousands of the state’s most vulnerable citizens; abused and
department has also continued to do a better job of assessing the risk
children face and disrupting families only when it is truly necessary to
protect the child.
While fewer children are being brought into state custody, the
number of children who are found to be abused again after DCFS
involvement has declined,” the Governor added.
number of children brought into care for the first time in fiscal year
1999 (8,186) was less than half of what it was in fiscal year 1995
In addition, instances of re-abuse have also fallen by more than
department’s budget grew at double-digit percentage rates every year
between fiscal year 1989 and fiscal year 1997.
However, since FY97, management reforms have allowed DCFS’
budgets to remain level.
In fact, the department’s total FY2001 budget will increase by
a mere 0.1 percent - $1.2 million.
Director Jess McDonald noted that the caseloads and budgets for child
welfare in most states continue to grow.
He indicated that the turnaround in Illinois has been achieved
through a series of major reforms and the work of many different people,
including reforms of relative and residential care passed by the General
Assembly in 1995.
More recently, federal and state permanency legislation passed in
1997, special efforts to promote permanency in the Cook County courts,
and the department’s own performance contracting initiative have
contributed to the dramatic increase in the movement of children to
new laws sent a clear message that it is important to move children
through the system quickly,” said Director McDonald.
“Judges throughout the state, and particularly in Cook County,
quickly embraced these new laws and set about making them work for
The department and private agencies agreed to a performance
contracting system that rewarded good results and the private sector
responded by moving thousands of children out of state custody.
It took thousands of people to make this work.”
state’s subsidized guardianship program is another important factor in
the increased movement of children out of state custody.
Since 1996, the state has been able to provide subsidies to
families who accept guardianship of a child, even if parental rights
have not been terminated, through a federal waiver.
This option is not available in other states.
At of the end of fiscal year 2001, there will be 5,440 children
receiving support through this program.
Almost all of these children would still be in state care without
Progress also continues
to be made in limiting the number of children placed in restrictive
By the end of fiscal year 2001, there will be fewer children
placed in residential settings than at any time since fiscal year 1991
and there will be 44 percent fewer than there were at the end of fiscal
In addition, the number of children placed in residential
settings outside of Illinois will fall below 100, from a high point of
792 in May 1995.
Already, 95 percent of out-of-state placements are either in
contiguous states or in secured facilities that are not yet available in
additional $599,800 has been included to increase funding of Child
Advocacy Centers (CACs).
These centers coordinate the activities of various agencies
involved in the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child
sexual abuse cases and serious child physical abuse cases.
The department considers CACs to be an important part of its
effort to improve decision-making and early treatment for some of the
most serious cases it sees.
budget will also support the department’s efforts to improve the
quality of the services it delivers.
In particular, the budget will allow DCFS to continue its effort
to become accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for
Children and Families.
Achieving this distinction would mean DCFS’ services meet the
national standard of excellence in social work.
At this time, Oklahoma is the only accredited state child welfare
The agency as a whole will be accredited during fiscal year 2001.
In addition, all private agency foster care providers must be
accredited by the end of fiscal year 2001.