HIGHLIGHTS SAFETY OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
IL, JULY 17, 1998 -- The Child and Family Research Center at the University
of Illinois today released its Report on Outcomes, showing that abuse
and neglect of children in foster care has steadily declined since 1995
-- to a low of 2.2 percent in Fiscal Year 1997.
"No child in foster care should ever be abused or neglected,"
McDonald said.. "However, recent trends show that we are continuing
to make strong progress on safety and other critical issues mentioned
in the report."
Examples of these trends include:
A May report to the General Assembly on the Departmentís Child
Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP), noted a 28 percent
decline in the rate of recurrence of abuse or neglect to children
since DCFS implemented the Protocol in 1995. The CERAP includes a
list of risk factors used to assess whether a child is in immediate
danger of harm.
Under an aggressive campaign to ensure comprehensive
health care for children in DCFS care, 92 percent of children in
DCFS care have been enrolled into HealthWorks, the Departmentís
health management system.
The number of Illinois children in out-of-state
institutions has plummeted from its peak of 792 in May, 1995 to
Currently, 3,675 DCFS wards have been adopted during
the first 11 months of Fiscal Year 1998 -- a 131 percent increase
compared to the same period a year ago. In addition, more than 1,000
children have transitioned into permanent homes with legal guardians
since the Department began its subsidized guardianship program in
"These figures represent a doubling in our Departmentís
permanency rate for children over the past year," said McDonald.
"As a result, the number of children living in substitute care
has fallen to below 48,000 -- the lowest number since Fiscal Year
The Centerís report is one of the first attempts in the nation
to evaluate the effectiveness of a stateís child welfare system
through the use of safety, permanency and well-being outcome measures.
The report notes there is limited information currently available
to evaluate overall well-being -- a limitation facing all child welfare
systems in the country. This initial report provides an impetus and
a significant foundation for building better systems for states to
measure how well children in their care are doing.
The Department commends the Child and Family Research Center in this