Archive for March 2009

Kotowski Bill to Help High-Risk Kids in DCFS Residential, Group Homes Sweeps Senate, Heads to House; Advocates Hopefull on Quinn

March 27, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate yesterday voted 56-0 to create a new approach to help Illinois abused and neglected children living in residential and group homes get more sophisticated care and avoid hospitalization.

State Senator Dan Kotowski

State Senator Dan Kotowski

The measure, Senate Bill 1372 Sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-33) would develop a performance-based program and payment model for the state residential foster care services to be implemented by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

“Performance contracts for DCFS residential and group homes provide new opportunities to develop innovative programming to provide enhanced clinical treatment and to ease transitions to school, home, and work for kids,” said Marge Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois.

The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Jacqueline  Collins (D-Chicago), would require DCFS to set new performance-based requirements, financial rates, and outcomes for residential treatment providers.

“Long-term savings from lowered hospitalization costs can be reinvested in new services that help close treatment gaps and help sustain the benefits for kid from treatment over time,” said Berglind.

The bill’s key provisions include:

  • DCFS must properly finance residential performance based programs
  • DCFS, DHS, ISBE and DJJ must work together to set new performance based requirements and rates for residential treatment
  • Child welfare agencies will work with other state agencies to develop similar performance-based goals and outcomes
  • DHS, ISBE and DJJ must establish residential rates that are at least equal to the DCFS performance-contracting rate

“We are very grateful to Senator Kotowski and Senator Collins for their aggressive and successful efforts to win Senate approval of the bill,” said Berglind.

The bill now moves to the House. The chief sponsor is State Rep. Paul Froehlich (D-Schaumburg).

“If the bill passes the House, we are hopefull Governor Pat Quinn will approve it,” Berglind added.

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Senate Panel Approves Cronin Plan to Help Foster Parents Pay for the Actual Cost of Care of Abused and Neglected Children

March 12, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate Human Services Committee on Wednesday endorsed a bill to require the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to review and set cost reimbursements each year for foster parent cost of care for abused and neglected children.

State Senator Dan Cronin

State Senator Dan Cronin

The Senate Human Services Committee approved 8-0 the legislation, Senate Bill 1576, sponsored by State Senator Dan Cronin (R-Elmhurst).

According to a national 2007 national study, The Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children (MARC,) revealed Illinois lags far behind the MARC suggested rate.

“Illinois currently provides an average reimbursement of $422 per month for a 9 year-old child in traditional foster care, but the typical Illinois foster parent costs are $703 per month—a gap of $281 that foster parents pay out of pocket,” Marge Berglind, President of Child Care Association of Illinois.

Despite the gap between foster parent costs and reimbursements, DCFS still has no plan this year to reimburse foster parents for increased food prices, even though food prices jumped 8% in 2008 and forecast to jump another 7% to 8% in 2009, according to Berglind.

“With Senator Cronin’s bill, foster children will benefit by helping to expand the pool of willing and capable foster parents who currently are deterred by the out-of-pocket expenses,” said Berglind.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), and Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge).

The members of the Human Services Committee include Senators: Mattie Hunter, Deanna Demuzio, William Delgado, Dan Kotowski, Heather Steans, Dave Syverson, Gary Dahl, Dan Duffy, and Dale Risinger.

The legislation now moves to the full Senate.

House Panel Ok’s Feigenholtz Bill to Capture an Extra $5 to $6 Million for Foster Care From Federal Government

March 12, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – An Illinois House panel on Wednesday approved legislation that would enable the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to capture an additional $5 or $6 million from the

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz

federal government to help pay for foster children care.

The Illinois House State Government Administration Committee on Wednesday voted 17-0 to approve legislation, House Bil 3632, sponsored by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago).

“Due to the current economic crisis, the DCFS fund that pays for care of abused and neglected children can no longer generate enough money to sustain current spending,” said Marge Berglind, President of Child Care Association of Illinois.

“The legislation sponsored by Rep. Feigenholtz will help fix that problem,” Berglind added.

DCFS has asked private child welfare agencies to voluntarily convert foster care and counseling services into Medicaid-claimable programs.

“We estimate that the fee-for-service conversion and enhanced Medicaid services could generate an additional $5-6 million for the FY2010 DCFS budget,” said Berglind. “And Rep. Feigenholtz’s bill will direct that money back to the fund to care for foster children.”

The committee members include State Representatives: Jack Franks, Lisa Dugan, Ron Wait, Suzanne Bassi, Mike Boland, Mike Bost, Will Burns, Annazette Collins, Fred Crespo, Monique Davis, Keith Farnham, Paul Froehlich, Emily McAsey, Don Moffitt, Rich Myers, Raymond Poe, and Harry Ramey.

The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

Kotowski Bill to Help High-Risk Kids in DCFS Residential, Group Homes Sweeps Senate Committee

March 7, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate Human Services Committee on March 5th approved legislation 9-0 to create a new approach to help abused and neglected children living in residential and group homes get more sophisticated care and avoid hospitalization.

State Senator Dan Kotowski

State Senator Dan Kotowski

The measure, Senate Bill 1372 Sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-33) would develop a performance-based program and payment model for the state residential foster care services.

“Performance contracts for DCFS residential and group homes provide new opportunities to develop innovative programming to provide enhanced clinical treatment and to ease transitions to school, home, and work for kids,” said Marge Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois.

The bill would require DCFS to set new performance-based requirements, financial rates, and outcomes for residential treatment providers.

“Long-term savings from lowered hospitalization costs can be reinvested in new services that help close treatment gaps and help sustain the benefits for kid from treatment over time,” said Berglind

The members of the Human Services Committee are: Sentaors Mattie Hunter, Deanna Demuzio, William Delgado, Dan Kotowski, Heather Steans, Dave Syverson, Gary Dahl, Dan Duffy, and Dale Risinger.

Illinois House Panel Approves Lang Bill to Boost Foster Parent Reimbursement by One-Time $24 Million Grant

March 6, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – An Illinois House legislative panel last week endorsed a one-time $24 million grant to reimburse foster parents for increased expenses related to caring for the state’s abused and neglected children.

State Rep. Lou Lang

State Rep. Lou Lang

The Illinois House Human Services Appropriations Committee voted 19-0 to include the money in the state’s new Fiscal Year 2010 budget.

“Foster parents have had only two increases in eight years to pay expenses to feed, clothe, house, and transport foster children and inflation has deeply eroded the value of the state reimbursement,” said Marge Berglind, the President and CEO of the Child Care Association of Illinois, the bill’s chief supporter.

Berglind noted, on average, an Illinois foster parent spends $703 per month—of that $281 comes out of the foster parent’s pocket.

A national report on foster parent under-funding released two yearsa go by two national organizations and the University of Maryland said Illinois’ average rates (for children 2, 9, and 16) were $380, $422, and $458 per month and they needed to be raised to $661, $757, and $830 to meet actual costs.

The legislation, House Bill 83, sponsored by State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), provides a one-time payment this year of $24 million to the state’s 7,500 foster parents. The payments would average $145 per foster child.

“It’s an embarrassment that DCFS seeks volunteer foster parents to care for abused and neglected children and then refuses to pay the full cost of care,” said Lang. “This one-time $24 million grant attempts to address DCFS’ negligence.”

“We applaud Rep. Lang for his leadership and willingness to address the state’s under-funding of foster care,” said Berglind.

State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), Deb Mell (D-Chicago) and Eddie Washington (D-Waukegan) are the bill’s co-chief sponsors.

The measure now moves to the full House floor.