Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
FFY 2011 Annual Progress and Services Report
to identify ways they can work as a unit. The adoption and guardianship preservation service
agencies understand the rhythms of the special families they serve, and they are able to respond
to crisis situations. Preservation services are provided to adoptive and guardianship families by
nine private child welfare agencies that serve a specific geographic area. Families that find they
need intensive intervention to keep their family together can call the appropriate agency from a
list of agencies provided to them in the “Post Adoption and Guardianship Services” booklet.
This booklet is also accessible on the DCFS website. In FY10, the statewide Adoption
Preservation programs served 1,249 families and 2,315 children.
A New Support for the Return-Home Permanency Option for Children
After the previous plan was developed in 2004, DCFS embarked on a unique campaign to
engage birth parents in ways that are more thorough and effective. One primary objective of
this campaign is to empower parents such that they are willing and able to help DCFS learn
how to do the work in ways that are more effective for parents, and to assist parents to become
better equipped to more quickly complete their service plans and safely regain custody of their
Services to Birth Parents - Statewide Partnering With Parents Councils
Reunification with birth parents whenever possible remains the preferred permanency option
for most children who come into the custody of DCFS. In an additional effort to empower and
engage birth parents and thus effect better and more timely reunification, DCFS has continued
expanding and supporting a statewide network of birth parent councils, under the “Partnering
with Parents” (PWP) initiative. Through this initiative, parents participate in informational
presentations about DCFS programs, policies and resources within their community and engage
in support activities among themselves. They are also given opportunities to tell DCFS how to
make the system better for parents.
The PWP initiative is for all parents who have been, or who are currently being served by the
Illinois child welfare system. The PWP Advisory Councils have groups in Cook County, with
these including the Cook Core Council, Cook Central Region Council, Cook North Region
Council, and Cook South Region Council. Downstate (everything outside of Cook County),
PWP advisory councils are meeting in Rockford, Aurora, Danville, Springfield, East St. Louis,
Mt. Vernon and Cairo. Councils are attempting to regenerate in Joliet and Peoria.
The PWP councils continue advising the Department on issues affecting families we serve.
Parents over the past year have participated in discussions about agency policies, procedures,
programs and practices for families who are served by the child welfare system. One goal of
the PWP councils is to provide families with a voice in the policies, programs and services
provided to them. The PWP councils are one way parents can assist DCFS to see, hear and
understand the needs of families as they journey toward reunification or work to stay together.
Recommendations made by PWP councils that DCFS finished during this past year include
installing computers in four DCFS offices that are accessible to parents and completing an
updated draft of a new Parent Reunification Handbook developed with parents from the
Rockford and Peoria councils to help parents move their case forward when their children are
in placement. This year parents from the downstate councils also worked closely with DCFS to
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