DIRECTOR JESS MCDONALD RECEIVES
"MOTOROLA EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD"
IL, AUGUST 17, 1997 --Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Director Jess McDonald today was named the 1997 recipient of the prestigious
Motorola Award for Public Excellence, recognizing exemplary leadership
and achievements by a government administrator. McDonald was selected
for the award by a blue-ribbon committee that evaluated candidates based
on leadership, teamwork, innovation, and achievement.
"I congratulate Jess McDonald for receiving this award. No one
has worked harder, more courageously and more effectively on behalf
of Illinois' most vulnerable citizens," said Gov. Jim Edgar. "Jess
has shown a strong commitment to children victimized by tragic abuse
and neglect. This is deserved recognition for an outstanding public
award, now in its sixth year, is presented annually by the Aon Corp.
in Chicago, the North Business and Industrial Council (NORBIC), and
Illinois Issues Magazine.
look for someone who has demonstrated leadership, has made significant
achievements, and has not only done good work, but has put together
a good team," Ed Wojcicki, publisher of Illinois Issues, said.
"They also look for someone who has been innovative and found new
ways to solve old problems. People have an awfully, awfully lot of regard
who was chosen from among two dozen nominees of appointed public officials
in state, Cook County, and City of Chicago government, will be honored
at a luncheon Oct. 16 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.
am honored by the recognition, but this is really a recognition of the
staff at DCFS -- from caseworkers, child protection workers and office
support staff to foster parents--everyone involved in serving children,"
McDonald said. "This award is due to everyone in the agency as
recognition of their hard work and commitment to children."
the past three years:
adoptions have more than doubled, with 2,229 adoptions finalized last
caseloads have fallen sharply, with the majority of workers at or near
the 25-case limit imposed by a 1991 consent decree.
growth rate of Illinois children entering substitute care decreased
from double-digit percentages between 1991 and 1995 to only 1 percent
number of Illinois children in out-of-state placements decreased from
a peak of 792 in 1995 to 294 today.
growth rate of children in home-of-relative placement has decreased
significantly, falling by nine percent last year, after a growth surge
of 160.8 percent over a period of five years.
became the first child welfare agency in the nation to embark on accreditation
of both itself and the private agencies with whom it contracts. Eight
DCFS sites have already received accreditation.
recipients of the award include Dick Wagner, executive director of the
Illinois Board of Higher Education in 1996; Ruth Rothstein of Cook County
Hospital in 1995; Mary Decker, formerly of Cook County's office of capital
planning and policy, in 1994; Sr. Sheila Lyne of the Chicago Department
of Human Services in 1993; and Robert Belcaster, formerly of the Chicago
Transportation Authority, in 1992.
was appointed director of DCFS in June, 1994 by Gov. Jim Edgar. Prior
to that, he served as the director of the Illinois Department of Mental
Health and Developmental Disabilities. As director, McDonald is responsible
for overseeing an agency that serves Illinois’ most vulnerable
children, with a budget of $1.3 billion. McDonald is also the recipient
of the 1996 Award for Excellence in Public Welfare Administration from
the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.