Illinois - March 28, 2000 - On the eve of Child Abuse Prevention Month,
Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, in partnership with the Illinois Department
of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Prevent Child Abuse America,
is launching a public awareness and outreach program to help ensure that
children throughout Illinois are truly "Safe At Home".
At the same
time, DCFS is observing a significant milestone - the 20th anniversary
of its State Central Register Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-25-ABUSE). To
mark the hotline anniversary and officially kick-off Child Abuse Prevention
Month, Prevent Child Abuse Illinois and DCFS are holding a "Safe At Home"
reception and news conference on Tuesday, March 28, at DCFS Headquarters,
406 East Monroe, in Springfield.
been more than a million family reports of abuse made to the DCFS hotline
since 1980, resulting in more than 400,000 indicated family reports.
has been an invaluable tool for keeping kids safe, 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, for the past 20 years," according to Jess McDonald, DCFS
Director. "Everyone who places a call to the hotline, whether a member
of the public or a mandated reporter, is the eyes and ears of the agency.
It's through partnerships like these, and with groups like Prevent Child
Abuse Illinois, that we can effectively fight child abuse and neglect."
has seen a 24 percent annual decline in child abuse reports from 139,720
in fiscal year 1995 to 106,761 in fiscal year 1999 - after years of annual
can attribute this drop to the organizations and individuals across Illinois
who have made children a priority," explained Roy Harley, Executive Director
of Prevent Child Abuse Illinois. "This movement has worked to raise awareness
about child abuse, educate our communities about the importance of reporting
suspected incidents, support families so they can provide a home free
of violence, and inform professionals about prevention and detection,"
Abuse Illinois is a statewide organization focused exclusively on the
prevention of child abuse and neglect. Since its founding in 1990, the
organization 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 assure the
healthy development of their children. Prevent Child Abuse Illinois accomplishes
this mission through public awareness campaigns, parent education and
support programs, professional training and technical assistance, and
community-level coalition building.
Department of Children and Family Services is the cabinet-level state
agency that protects Illinois children from abuse and neglect. DCFS was
established in 1964 to receive abuse and neglect reports, conduct investigations,
and take protective actions. For two years in a row, the White House has
honored DCFS for its record-breaking performance in moving children to
permanent homes through adoption or legal guardianship. At the same time,
statistics show a 30 percent decline of Illinois children taken into protective
custody between fiscal year 1995 (9,037) and fiscal year 1999 (6,352)
- meaning more children are staying safe in their original homes.