Archive for April 2009

Kotowski-Froehlich Bill to Help High-Risk Kids in DCFS Residential, Group Homes Sweeps House, Heads to Governor Pat Quinn’s Desk

April 29, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois House today voted 116-0 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 Rep. Paul Froehlich (D-Schaumburg) and 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.

State Rep. Paul Froelich

State Rep. Paul Froelich

The bill, co-sponsored by State Rep. Lisa Dugan and Senator Jacqueline  Collins, 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 Governor Pat Quinn’s desk.

“Given his strong record on children, we are hopefull Governor Quinn will approve it,” Berglind added.

Illinois House Approves Berrios Bill to Boost Foster Parent Reimbursement by One-Time $24 Million Grant; Schoenberg Senate Sponsor

April 2, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois House on Tuesday 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. Maria "Toni" Berrios

State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios

The Illinois House voted 76-40 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 years  ago by two national organizations and the University of Maryland said Illinois’

Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang

Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang

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. Maria “Toni” Berrios (D-Chicago), 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 co-sp0nsor Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie). “This one-time $24 million grant attempts to address DCFS’ negligence.”

“We applaud Representative Berrios for her 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), Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago), Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) and Eddie Washington (D-Waukegan) are the bill’s other sponsors.

The measure now moves to the Illinois Senate under the sponsorship of State Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston).

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

April 2, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate on Tuesday night voted unanimously 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 approved 54-0 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

State Rep. Greg Harris

State Rep. Greg Harris

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 legislation now moves to the Illinois House and State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) will be the chief sponsor.

“We are grateful to Rep. Harris for his willingness to assume sponsoring of this bill,” said Berglind. “And we are confident that his stature and legislative skill will replicate the Senate outcome in the House.”