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Pekin, IL, JUNE 16, 199 -- The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services announced today that its Pekin Field Office has been fully accredited by the renowned New York City-based Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children.
"This was no small accomplishment," said DCFS Director Jess McDonald, who

presented an accreditation plaque to field staff personnel and honored them for their ongoing hard work in maintaining accreditation standards.

"Accreditation involves thousands of hours refining field office operations to ensure that it meets a set of rigorous, nationally established requirements that cover every

issue, from personnel to safety to fiscal and program management," he said.

The Pekin Field Office, located at #1 South Capitol Street, is a 26-person office responsible for serving Tazewell and Woodford Counties. It is among 23 of approximately 90 DCFS field offices to have thus far attained this esteemed stamp of approval, which the Department is striving to attain for every field office in the state, as well as the private child welfare agencies it contracts with.

Reaching this ultimate goal would make Illinois the first state in the nation to have all of its child welfare offices, both public and private, accredited. The process is lengthy. Once a field office is targeted for accreditation, year-long preparation begins, which includes reviewing every aspect of how work is carried out by the office, examining in detail such aspects as how well clients and the community are being served, reviewing how well cases are documented and filed, and reviewing how well staff are trained. The process requires input from the entire staff, as well as outside participants such as court officials and foster parents.

COA examiners visited the Pekin site in May 1998 to see if it measured

up to standards. They later presented their findings to the national COA panel. The Pekin Office received written verification of its accreditation earlier this year.

"The Pekin staff have really worked hard to achieve COA accreditation," said DCFS Central Region Administrator Don Vacca. "Their dedication has been tremendous, and the results have meant our clients are receiving better services."

Benefits to accreditation include increased client participation, improved case management and documentation, and improved internal operations and accountability. Additionally, accreditation builds confidence by clients, foster and adoptive parents, community members, the courts and other child welfare advocates in DCFS services.

"I am extremely proud of the Pekin Field Office," said McDonald. "Their ongoing dedication to maintaining accreditation not only speaks to their professionalism, but it attests to others that DCFS strives to deliver the very best quality in child welfare services."


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