Chicago, July 10 -- Governor George H. Ryan today
announced that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
has achieved full accreditation by the world’s leading accreditor of
child welfare services.
According to the Council on
Accreditation for Children and Family Services (COA), DCFS is the
largest, and only the second child welfare agency in the nation to
achieve full accreditation.
extend a well-deserved congratulations to Director Jess McDonald and the
DCFS staff throughout the state for reaching this monumental goal,”
said Governor Ryan.
Completing 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 that the community needs.
“We are excited by both
the advocacy and incredible example that the Illinois Department of
Children and Family Services has set for accreditation,” said David
Liederman, President of COA. “As
a result of their efforts, we have ten states that are pursuing
accreditation and an additional seven states that are seriously
considering COA accreditation.”
Accreditation means clients can
now expect even greater participation in decisions that affect their
cases, improved case management and documentation, and improved internal
operations and accountability. Additionally, accreditation further
builds the confidence of foster and adoptive parents, providers, the
courts and members of the community in the agency’s work and
accreditation further demonstrates our commitment to provide the highest
quality services possible to the children, families and communities we
serve,” said Director Jess McDonald. “It took long hours of hard
work for thousands of staff in dozens of DCFS offices around the state.
This effort reflects our commitment to continue to improve all aspects
of our work.”
The accreditation process began
in 1996 when DCFS and COA agreed that for DCFS to be fully accredited,
central office functions had to be accredited, along with offices that
represent 60 percent of statewide caseload. Eight field offices
volunteered to begin the process along with the Central Office.
Changes were made at each site
in child protection, intact family services, foster care and foster home
licensing. DCFS also implemented new requirements for potential
employees by requiring social work or human services degrees for
caseworkers and Masters of Social Work degrees for supervisors.
DCFS has achieved significant
improvements in adoptions, child safety and caseload reductions.
Accreditation has contributed to those improvements.
“It was no small achievement,
given that the accreditation process required DCFS staff to put in
thousands of hours preparing for accreditation – all while maintaining
full caseloads,” McDonald said.
is an independent, not-for-profit, internationally recognized accreditor
of mental health and social service organizations in the United States
and Canada. COA is sponsored by Alliance for Children and Families,
Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies, Catholic
Charities USA, Child Welfare League of America, Foster Family-based
Treatment Association, Lutheran Services in America, National Council
For Adoption, National Foundation for Consumer Credit, National Network
for Youth, and Prevent Child Abuse America.