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Governor's budget plan for DCFS focuses on
meeting long-term needs of at-risk children

Agency's "lifetime approach" strives to give children in
State's care tools and services to become successful adults
(Also see the FY 2007 Budget Briefing Book)

SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proposed a fiscal year 2007 budget for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that focuses on the implementation of initiatives that improve the agency's ability to serve children that call the State of Illinois "parents."

"Our goal is to ensure that the changes we are implementing will penetrate deeply into the practices of the Department, to ensure that each child receives a quality and complete plan for their entire stay in state care and beyond, and that we display the commitment and have the tools to fulfill society's obligation to provide for these children," said Director Bryan Samuels.

The fiscal year 2007 budget proposal includes $1.3 billion for DCFS. The agency plans to focus state dollars on implementing new initiatives that include the redesign of the Transitional Living and Independent Living Programs, which will provide a seamless continuum of services for youth transitioning to adulthood, and the creation of an improved statewide shelter system. The Youth Stabilization program, which addresses the most challenging aspect of the shelter system, includes a series of targeted strategies to stabilize older youth with a pattern of multiple placements and run behavior.

The Department will work closely with the Department of Human Services to expeditiously transition developmentally-disabled youth who are aging out of DCFS care to Community-based Integrated Living Arrangements (CILA). Not only does this provide for more appropriate care, but it also generates additional federal dollars for the state.

The Governor's budget plan also includes $30 million for support service enhancements mandated by the federal government as part of it's comprehensive review process. The Program Improvement Plan submitted to and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contained strategies that will strengthen the delivery of much-needed services, such as mental health services, to children in the DCFS system.

The budget proposal reflects the continuing decline in caseloads. Approximately 17,800 children are currently in the DCFS system, down from 20,600 in 2003.

Together with Governor Blagojevich, Director Samuels and the Department have:

  • Created a Residential Monitoring Unit - Through this program, the Department monitors the treatment and evaluates outcomes to ensure children in DCFS care are receiving the most appropriate services.
  • Expanded Children's Advocacy Centers system - The Department broadened the services of a statewide system of Children's Advocacy Centers, which provides coordinated investigation, prosecution and treatment referral for most reports of children's sexual abuse.
  • Launched "Find Your Future" - Find Your Future is a summer internship program that has so far matched 30 DCFS college student with employers for paid, full time jobs.
  • Implemented the statewide-integrated assessment process - This service provides each child entering custody a comprehensive screening to identify mental, developmental and behavioral needs and provides the basis for services to meet those needs.
  • Established a Child Location and Support Unit to continually track and locate children missing from their authorized placement. The Department's ability to identify and locate missing DCFS wards was woefully inadequate in FY03 and led to substantial media attention. One of this administration's first actions was to develop the Child Location and Support Unit, a task force that took serious and concrete steps to locate missing children.

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Contact: Diane Jackson, 312-814-6847

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