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.
to the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services (COA),
DCFS is the largest, and only the second state 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.
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.
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.”
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 dedication.
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.”
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
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.
has achieved significant improvements in adoptions, child safety and caseload
has contributed to those improvements.
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.