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  News  

DCFS Director Jess McDonald (left), Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan (center) and Prevent Child Abuse-Illinois president Roy Harley (right) welcomed invitees to Child Abuse Prevention Month activities held inside the State Capitol rotunda.

Statistics Show Decline in Child Abuse

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, Department of Children and Family Services Director Jess McDonald, along with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Executive Director Roy Harley, today kicked off the state's observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month by announcing statistics that show a continued decline in incidents of child abuse and neglect in Illinois.

During the past year, the number of children abused and neglected in Illinois declined by nearly 3 percent, continuing the statewide trend that has resulted in a 25.9 percent decline in child abuse and neglect cases since 1995. This decrease runs counter to the national trend in which most states show increases in abuse and neglect.

"Many of Governor George Ryan's initiatives have contributed to these good numbers," said Director McDonald. "Programs such as the Department of Human Services' Healthy Families Illinois, which serves parents with newborn children, and the Parents Too Soon (PTS) program, which served nearly 24,000 adolescents and teen parents under the age of 21, are just two examples of community-based programs that work."

Another example of a successful initiative is the Prenatal Network Program developed by DHS. In FY00, the Prenatal Network Program - a network of hospitals, physicians and others who provide health care services during pregnancy and childbirth - served approximately 22,000 women.

"Despite all of these improvements, children still die and each child's death is an unacceptable tragedy. Last year we experienced another increase in the number of child deaths in the state. It takes partnerships in each community to make kids safe at home, and partnerships are what we're honoring today," said McDonald.

"Child Abuse Prevention Month provides an opportunity to focus public attention and energies on the tragedy of child abuse, and the clear need to find ways to prevent it," Roy Harley of Prevent Child Abuse added.

Since its founding in 1990, Prevent Child Abuse Illinois has developed or promoted initiatives that contribute to strong, healthy families where children are raised in a safe and nurturing environment, and provided parents with the help and tools to ensure the healthy development of their children. The organization accomplishes this mission through public awareness campaigns, parent education and support programs, professional training and technical assistance, and community-level coalition building.

The organizations receiving "Special Recognition" at today's ceremony are Local Area Network (LAN)-based programs that have reputations for success in reducing child abuse and neglect. The programs are representative samples of community-based prevention programs in Illinois' urban, suburban and rural areas. Each nominee had to be in existence for at least two fiscal years. Each program had to be based on the following principles: Innovation, Collaboration, Family Focused, Parent/Client Driven, and Outcome Based. Honorees include:

  • Counseling and Family Services - Peoria, IL
  • Family Visitation Center - Herrin, IL
  • Franklin-Williamson Human Services - West Frankfort, IL
  • Garden of Prayer Youth Center - Momence, IL
  • Kismet Family Services - Chicago, IL
  • Lydia Children's Home Association - Chicago, IL
  • Matthews & Associates - Herrin, IL
  • McHenry County Mental Health Board in Partnership with McHenry County Youth Service Bureau - Crystal Lake, IL
  • Metropolitan Family Services - Evanston, IL
  • Metropolitan Family Services, South Chicago Center - Chicago, IL
  • Parent Education Project - Chicago, IL
  • Parents Help Line - Springfield, IL
  • Project Success of Vermillion County, Inc. - Danville, IL
  • United Methodist Children's Home - Mt. Vernon, IL

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