Archive for October 2010

Advocates Seek Illinois Child Welfare Vision from Governor Pat Quinn, Senator Bill Brady

October 5, 2010

(Chicago, IL) — October 5, 2010. As part of its Illinois 2010 voter education project, the Child Care Association of Illinois today issued letters to both Governor Pat Quinn and State Senator Bill to request their vision for Illinois’ child welfare system and to register the importance of the 18,718 abused and neglected children under the protection of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DFCS).

Here is the letter sent to Governor Quinn and Senator Brady:

Dear Governor Pat Quinn and Senator Bill Brady:

As the potential “father” to 18,718 children who are wards of the State of Illinois, you will be responsible for their care and safety as Governor of Illinois.

Due to comprehensive reform, a public-private partnership—led primarily by a private sector child welfare workforce—rescued the Illinois child welfare system from national disgrace in 1995 and catapulted it to national leadership by 2010.

In 1995, there were 53,000 Illinois abused and neglected children who had overwhelmed the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Today, there are 18,718 children in the state’s care, of whom, 87% are receiving care from the private sector. The reforms that began in 1995 continue through today. However, a child welfare system as large and as dynamic as ours can never rest on its laurels.

Neither can a Governor.

Gubernatorial leadership is essential to mobilize the resources of critical public and private stakeholders to ensure that the safety of Illinois children continues to be a priority. A Governor can communicate a vision of shared responsibility for child safety and that begins with DCFS but, ultimately, engages the private sector that provides the bulk of the care.

As we intend to continue educating Illinois voters and our 25,000-strong private, statewide workforce on key child welfare public policy issues, we want to include your vision of the Illinois child welfare system and your role as the potential “father “to 18,718 wards of the state.

Help us in our education campaign of voters. We ask that you answer the four following questions, which would help to give shape to your vision of the child welfare system in Illinois:

1.     What policies would your Administration implement to prevent child maltreatment and strengthen vulnerable families?

2.     What policies would your Administration implement to ensure permanency for all children?

3.     What policies would your Administration implement to support and protect the economic viability of the private sector child welfare workforce that provides 87% of care?

4.     What policies would your Administration implement to maintain accountability for improving child outcomes?

The Illinois Governor makes critical decisions that have both short and long term consequences for the children in his care. That process requires that a governor have a vision. We would like to share your vision with the voters of Illinois. If you could return this questionnaire by October 15, 2010, we would appreciate it.

If you have any questions, please call me directly at: 312-819-1950.

Sincerely,

Margaret Berglind

Margaret Berglind, President & CEO

Child Care Association of Illinois

As soon as we receive responses from each campaign, we will the information, here, at the Child Care Association IL News Weblog,

Illinois to Share in $9.5 Million U.S. Award to Reduce Kids in Long-Term Foster Care

October 4, 2010

(Chicago, IL) – October 4, 2010. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today that Illinois will be included in an award of nearly $9.5 million to help reduce the number of children in long-term foster care.

The awards were announced last Friday in Chicago by U.S. Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Bryan Samuels, a former director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Child Care Association of Illinois CEO Marge Berglind participated in the grant proposal committee with DCFS, on behalf of private agencies, and is listed as a partner entity in the proposal, since 85% of the target population is served through it private sector agencies.

“Overall, the new funding will provide will provide trauma-focused therapy for youth ages 9 to 12 who are at high risk of needing long-term foster care,” said Berglind.

“This program will train caregivers, involve their birth parents, and locate other relatives who can be potential placements.”

The grants will fund six partnerships between state and local public child welfare agencies, non-profits and institutions of higher education to develop innovative intervention strategies to help move children into permanent homes.

This is the first year of funding in a five-year initiative.

“For too long, thousands of children have grown up under the custody of the state, rather than with a permanent, loving and caring family,” said David A. Hansell, acting assistant secretary for children and families.

“These grants represent an important step to addressing the inadequacies in the child welfare system, and will help some of the most vulnerable children in that system.”

These projects will test new approaches to reducing long-term foster care placements for children with high rates of long-term placement. In addition to Illinois, the money distributed over the next five years will go to six grantees across the country.

“Our goal is to reduce the number of children who enter into foster care, shorten the time spent, and expedite the process in which they move into other permanent living situations,” said Samuels.

“The release of these grants will enable organizations to implement and sustain effective permanency achievement efforts and strengthen families.”