Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
FFY 2011 Annual Progress and Services Report
One Hope United / Cook South, Cook Central, Cook North, and Northern regions (and
collaboration network of child welfare agencies.)
In addition, another Learning Network was funded directly by IDCFS in the southern region
through One Hope United. This “HUB” agency is based in Effingham. SFI provides technical
assistance and support during this implementation phase.
SFI Senior- Technical Assistance (TA) consultants work with each learning network on parent
involvement and maximizing parent and professional partnerships. They also offer services and
supports to share with the parents to which partner. (TA) providers do this by attending
monthly meetings and by providing ongoing telephone technical assistance to support program
plan implementation. Staff at learning network programs incorporate the Protective Factors
framework and Strengthening Families concepts into staff and parent meetings. They promote
Strengthening Families IL and Love Is Not Enough Protective Factors messages throughout
their programs. Technical assistance for new learning networks primarily involves grounding
new “HUBS” for recruitment and network launch preparation.
SFI has successfully developed “Cafes” for Biological / Birth Parents, Foster/ adoptive parents,
Teen Parents, Teens/ Youth, and Family Childcare Providers. SFI has been working with
each of these audiences to grow the participant base for “Cafes” and open training options.
SFI’s Parent Leadership Team recruitment process identifies leaders. “Dad’s Cafes” have been
developed this year it has been piloted in English and Spanish. Additional adaptations are in
development such as grandparents raising grandchildren and youth/parent cafes.
Development of Parent Leadership
SFI is focused on promoting and building Protective Factors directly in families through its
parent leadership development process. A dominant way of reaching families has been by
working though the Early Learning Networks. SFI has reached a large number of parents, as it
successfully continues its recruitment efforts to connect parents with SFI opportunities for
growth. The primary mechanisms for reaching parents are resource fairs, events, parent cafes,
and through partners. SFI Learning Networks have taken a hand on approach to recruiting
parents in their programs. Parent Leadership Team members are also taking the lead in
recruiting parents in their own communities.
All parents that are recruited by SFI are a part of the larger SFI Parent Leadership Team and are
added to a statewide database of parent leaders. SFI has the ability to communicate with them
about upcoming events/activities and connect them with café and leadership training
opportunities. Over 2023 parents have been recruited through December, 2010, with 1005 in
this fiscal year (2011). 147 of the parents recruited this year are Foster Parents, 336 Spanish
speaking, 144 fathers, 54 grandparents, 31 birth parents, and 35 teen parents.
Given the large geographic area of Illinois, SFI maintains ongoing communication with parent
leaders through its Facebook Online Community, targeted email communications, telephone
conference calls, and postcard mailing. SFI provides opportunities for SFI parent leaders to
gather at the Quarterly Parent Leader Confab. The confab gives parent voice to the initiative
and is responsible for helping to develop some of the key initiatives used to partner with
parents, including the development of Café Talk and a presentation for parents to use with local
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