Posted tagged ‘DCFS’

DCFS Data Reveals Confirmed Illinois Child Abuse, Neglect Projected to Drop 27% Since 2008

May 1, 2012

(Springfield, IL) – May 1, 2012. Illinois child welfare advocates today released an analysis of state child welfare data and hailed a projected 24% drop of confirmed child abuse and neglect in Illinois since 2008.

Analysis of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

“Our review of the Illinois Department Children and Family Services data reveals concretely what we in the field knew intuitively–Illinois children are safer today than they were even just four years ago,” said Margaret Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois.

According to the group’s review of the data, there were 29,802 cases of confirmed child abuse or neglect in Illinois in fiscal year 2008, and by annualizing the first seven months of fiscal year 2012 data, there will be 21,720 confirmed cases, which constitutes a 27% decrease.

“We are on our way to see a 27% decrease in child abuse and neglect in Illinois,” said Berglind. “That accomplishment is due to combined efforts of DCFS and private child welfare agencies to continue to implement the reforms that began in 1995.”

Berglind noted that the DCFS data is on track to reveal child safety progress on multiple fronts, including child sex abuse, substance abuse-exposed babies, and child deaths.

“If the current trends continue, child deaths, as a result of abuse or neglect, are set to fall by 60%,” said Berglind. “This good news confirms that the Illinois child welfare system is effectively doing its job–which is protecting children.”

Berglind also noted that there are fewer children in state care. Illinois has reduced its child caseload from nearly 51,000 from 1997 to 18,413 in 2012—a 63% reduction in the foster care caseload compared to a national reduction of 24%.

Additionally, More children have been placed in permanent homes. More than 40,000 children moved out of foster care to adoption and guardianship over the last decade, Berglind noted.

However, Berglind did sound a cautionary note that Illinois’ protection progress could be jeopardized if the Illinois General Assembly further cuts the DCFS budget by more than the $44 million recommended by Governor Pat Quinn.

“While the Illinois General Assembly and DCFS have implemented legislative and program reform to overhaul the Illinois child welfare system, the state’s performance is still significantly governed by eight court consent decree settlements,” said Berglind. “If the legislature cuts the DCFS budget too deeply, the state risks undermining the safety of children and risks court action.”

In 2008,  the state provided $897 million of its own money to DCFS. For next year, Quinn is proposing to spend only $746 million of general revenue money, or a 16.8% reduction.

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 House Sends Gov. Pat Quinn Lyons-Kotowski Bill to Secure $17 Million from Federal Government for Illinois Foster Care

April 22, 2010

State Rep. Joe Lyons

(Springfield, IL) — April 22, 2010. The Illinois House today unanimously approved a bill that would enable the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to capture an additional $17 million from the federal government to help pay for Illinois foster children care.

The House backed the legislation, Senate Bill 3420, sponsored by State Rep. Joe Lyons (D-Chicago) and State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), 113-0.

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

“The legislation will cost the state nothing. All the new money would come from the federal government.”

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

In addition to Lyons, House sponsors include: Naomi Jakobsson (D), Sara Feigenholtz (D), Pat Verschoore (D), Jehan Gordon (D), David Leitch (D), Paul Froehlich (D), LaShawn Ford (D) and Tom Holbrook (D).

The measure now goes to Governor Pat Quinn for consideration.

Illinois Senate OKs Kotowski Plan to Capture $17 Million from U.S. Government for Illinois Foster Care

March 18, 2010

(Springfield, IL) – March 18, 2010. The Illinois Senate last night unanimously approved a bill that would enable the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to capture an additional $17 million from the federal government to help pay for Illinois foster children care.

The Senate backed the legislation, Senate Bill 3420, sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) by a 56-0 vote.

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

“The legislation will cost the state nothing. All the new money would come from the federal government.”

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

The legislation now moves to the Illinois House where State Rep. Joe Lyons (D-Chicago) is the sponsor.

IL Legislature Approves, Governor Pat Quinn Signs Illinois Budget–Homeless Youth, Mentally Ill, Others Still Face Loss of Care, Services

July 16, 2009

(Springfield, IL) — The Illinois General Assembly last night approved and the Governor Pat Quinn signed the Fiscal Year 2010 Illinois budget.

The good news is that there is now a regular FY’10 budget, so that contracts and cash can begin to flow. The bad news is that the budget still contains serious cuts.

The budget does not contain revenue for a tax increase, but contains revenues from fund sweeps and

Governor Pat Quinn

Governor Pat Quinn

funds generated from pension borrowing to offset the Illinois “doomsday” budget losses in human service funding. However, human services are funded only at an average of 86% of FY ’09 levels.

State agencies will be mandated to set aside $1.1 billion total in reserves, not spending appropriated dollars until review later in the year, so this will pose an additional strain for programs that are already reduced. Finally, there is an expectation inherent in this budget that some FY ’10 payments to providers will be delayed into FY ’11 as a way of saving funds in FY ’10. This “borrowing” from providers is estimated at $1.5 billion. . There is estimated to be $1.1 billion in cuts.  The overall funding for the state is approximately 92% of FY ’09 levels.

Social services are funded at an average of 86% of FY ’09 amounts. This is an AVERAGE only.

State agencies received lump sum appropriations and not detailed line item appropriations. State agencies will make determinations of how to spend and allocate the reduced amounts within the lump sum allocations. The General Assembly did not appropriate division, program or line items for the state agencies. The Governor and state agencies will need to make decisions on how the 86% funding levels will be distributed to meet human needs.

Legislators who presented and commented on the proposed budgets confirmed that the budget represents all the money Illinois has. Cuts will be deep. However, they acknowledged that Illinois was out of time and options in terms of passing some type of budget. They characterized this as a budget that avoids a complete meltdown but avoids a tax increase.

Child Care Association of Illinois staff reviewed the lump sum appropriations for each state agency. At this time, there is really no way to determine if the lump sums represent the expected 86% funding level, or if the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services appropriation represents the mandates of the federal BH consent decree.   We will need to obtain more detail from the state agencies, once the dust settles.

Governor Quinn and thus, the state agencies, will have wide latitude in determining how to spend the reduced funding levels. Although the 86% funding level for human service grants is an AVERAGE, there is NO GUARANTEE THAT ALL PROGRAMS WOULD BE FUNDED AT 86%.

The state agencies will need to make determinations about priority programs, funding levels and potential rate or utilization reductions. Language in the budget bill allows the agencies to do this.  For example, in the Illinois Department of Humans Services, appropriations are usually made in very specific amounts by division. This year, however, there is no differentiation of the total funds given to DHS for use in youth services or mental health or developmental disabilities or substance abuse. The Governor has asked the state agencies for their spending plans. There is much work to be done ahead with the state agencies.

The DCFS budget is not necessarily exempt from all aspects of the budget restrictions, although the requirements of the BH court order of July 1 mandate certain services.  We have asked DCFS finance staff to let us know whether their analysis of the amounts appropriated to DCFS reflect the budget needs necessary so that DCFS can fund services at FY ’09 levels as planned.

The budget is actually named “Emergency Budget Implementation Act of Fiscal Year 2010” and refers to the extraordinary financial situation. The legislative intent of the budget bill states:

“The General Assembly hereby finds and declares that the State is confronted with an unprecedented fiscal crisis. This Act is to be liberally construed and interpreted in a manner that allows the State to
address the fiscal crisis for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010.”

The budget bill also contains language that will allow emergency rule making. This will allow the state agencies to implement the program and finance challenges expeditiously in rules.  The JCAR process of legislative review will still be used.

Finally, there does not appear to be any agreement at this time about revisiting a tax increase. Some legislators predict such discussions will emerge in the fall veto session. Others look to January before there is any serious consideration of a tax increase. There is no guarantee that the budget we have today will in any way be enhanced by other revenue within this fiscal year.

The great disappointment of this budget means challenges for CCAI members throughout this fiscal year and as we plan for FY ’11. Advocacy efforts must continue to remind the public and the general assembly that an 86% human service level is not acceptable.

Policy advocacy and scrutiny of the state agency decisions will become a big part of this year’s activities. We need to prepare for the inevitable funding challenges of FY ’11 when some of the federal stimulus money protecting ISBE this year, goes away.

Court Order Prompts Governor Pat Quinn to Reverse DCFS Illinois Doomsday Budget Cuts

July 2, 2009

Memorandum

TO: CCAI CEOs/EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS/POLICY COMMITTEE
FROM: Marge Berglind, President, Child Care Association of Illinois
DATE: JULY 1, 2009
RE: DCFS Contracts Update/State Budget Update—Part 3

Today, Illinois Department of Children Family Services Director Erwin McEwen called a special CWAC Meeting to provide information about the requirements of the BH Consent Decree order. Earlier, providers received a letter from DCFS asking you to provide all programs and services.

DCFS must comply with the order of federal judge John Grady and is asking all agencies with contracts to comply.

Governor Pat Quinn’s office has informed DCFS that they intend to comply with the BH decree and should continue to assure services are provided. The Director asked that any agency that had a DCFS contract for FY ’09 continue to provide these services as of July 1. This request will override any previous letters/notices you received that either eliminated or cut services. Your FY ‘10 contracts will continue at the FY ’09 levels.

DCFS is working with the Governor’s office and Comptroller Dan Hynes to reach an understanding that will allow DCFS providers to be paid for the services they provide, and asking the Controller to give DCFS providers priority in the payment queue.  The request is for the Comptroller to make payment without a budget appropriation.

DCFS contracts are going in the mail within the next 5 days. Providers should return those promptly. These contracts will be 12-month contracts, based on FY ’09 contract levels.

DCFS realizes that some agencies may not be in a position to reactivate or continue a DCFS service for which they may experience payment delays. They understand that some agencies are already experiencing cash challenges based on payment delays from FY ’09.

If any agency feels it cannot reactivate its program, or continue to serve the DCFS children currently in care, that agency should inform DCFS Director McEwen via e-mail immediately. DCFS will then arrange service coverage for those clients that program cannot serve.

The Director requested that agencies act immediately to halt the closure or downsizing of any contract that DCFS had informed you would not be renewed. He does not want any client to be without even one day of service. SOC cases that were just closed because they were clinically due to be closed anyway should remain closed. Those that were closed only because of the potential termination of the DCFS contract should be opened immediately.

Day care providers used by foster caregivers, for which the day care is paid by DCFS, will also still be needed as a provider.  Those day care providers are being notified, along with 40,000 miscellaneous DCFS providers, of DCFS’ intent to continue all services.

If a foster parent is having difficulty with their day care provider, that provider can contact the DCFS contracts unit for verification of DCFS’ intent:  217-785-3920. A copy of the Director’s letter regarding compliance with the BH court order is also on the DCFS web site.

Illinois Doomsday Budget Edges Toward Illinois Doomsday Budget-Lite

June 30, 2009

MEMORANDUM

TO:        CCAI CEOs/EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS/POLICY COMMITTEE
FROM: MARGE BERGLIND, President, Child Care Association of Illinois
DATE:  JUNE 30, 2009
RE:       HOUSE APPROVES BILL TO ADD $2+Billion TO BUDGET

Last night, the Illinois House voted to approve $2.23 billion in general obligation bonds to fund pension obligations. This would free those funds to use for the FY’ 10 operating budget. An amendment was added to the original bill that mandates use of these funds for community-based human services. The amendment reads:

SB 415 with HA # 4
“Section 1. Legislative intention; assist our most vulnerable citizens. It is the intention of the General Assembly in enacting this legislation that, by applying the net proceeds of the sale of general obligation bonds in the amount of $2,230,000,000 authorized by this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly to fund pension obligations of the State, an equivalent amount will be made available for the State’s operational expenses in these times of fiscal crisis to help fund programs and services provided by community-based human service providers to ensure that we continue assisting the most vulnerable of our citizens.”

The bill will now move to the senate for concurrence with the amendments.

If the bill is approved by the Senate and signed by Governor Pat Quinn, it could provide some budget relief for FY ’10. However, the shortfall in Governor Quinn’s current, projected Illinois doomsday budget is purported to be $5 billion in community-provided services. This leaves a shortfall of $2.77 in community human services, which include the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). There is also a $4.2 billion deficit in state-provided services.

During debate, the sponsor verified that this bill is not intended to be a line-item appropriations bill. It generates revenue. The intent is to give Governor Quinn and the state agencies latitude to determine which human services must  be funded, in whole or in part, with this $2.23 billion.

If the Senate approves and Governor Quinn signs this bill, there will be additional funds for the state budget. However, there will still likely be cuts and reductions, since there is still not enough revenue to fill the budget gap.

As of last night, no vote was expected on a tax increase.