Social Work News

Friday, October 15

DCFS Wins $10 Million in Federal Funds to Help Foster Children Move to Permanent, Loving Families

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

Competitive grant to improve outcomes of older children in foster care

CHICAGO, IL—Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced the award of $10 million in new federal funding to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to significantly improve permanency outcomes for youth in foster care. The award is part of a broader federal effort to test what works in child welfare, and then replicate effective strategies across the country.

“This initiative is a part of a larger Administration of Children and Families effort to build a body of evidence of effective practice in child welfare,” Samuels said.  “The work in Illinois has broad implications for the nation.”

DCFS will receive $2 million per year for a period of five years to demonstrate an inhanced intervention to improve permanency and lifetime outcomes for foster children ages 9-12. The program will provide intensive services to these children and their families by delivering Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) in the home to the youth, training caregivers, actively involving birth parents in permanency planning, and utilizing family search and locating services to explore potential kinship placements. By the end of the fifth year of the grant, 2,672 young people will have received intervention services, a majority of the target population in foster care statewide.

“This grant is an exciting opportunity to develop new tools, resources and strategies to address the needs of older children who often have long lengths of stay in foster care,” said DCFS Director Erwin McEwen. “As the child welfare population in Illinois is aging, this is a tremendous opportunity to improve their futures.”

DCFS is a leader in the national movement to achieve permanency for all children in foster care. The Department and its private sector partners has safely reduced the number of children in foster care from more than 52,000 in 1997 to less than 15,500 today through reunification with birth families, subsidized guardianship, kinship care and adoption. Today’s announcement follows two additional awards of competitive federal grants.  Illinois was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of a differential response approach in child protective services, and also awarded a grant from the federal Quality Improvement Center for performance-based contracting for residential programs.    

DCFS will be supported in this project by key partner organizations, including Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the Children and Family Research Center of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, juvenile courts and the Child Care Association of Illinois.

Posted on 10/15/10 at 10:21 AM


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