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2022 Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan Honors
More than 25 years ago, the Illinois General Assembly determined that there was a need to establish official public policy regarding the rights and the responsibilities of foster parents. This policy is known as the Foster Parent Law. This law requires that each DCFS region and every private agency providing foster care by contract with DCFS develop an annual plan to implement the Law. The Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council is responsible for ensuring that the plans are submitted and scored each year. The council recognizes the top implementation plans submitted by agencies/DCFS regions on an annual basis.
Three foster care agencies and regions were selected by the council for recognition this year.
Dignity and Respect - Center for Youth and Family Solutions
The Center for Youth and Family Solutions intentionally incorporates the implementation plan in daily activities. They use innovative strategies to connect children with their families of origin. Narrative #1 describes a partnership approach to service delivery. They use a tracking system that identifies foster parents who need more support. Unlimited access to Foster Parent College is provided to foster parents, free of charge. Foster parents are given a placement packet when a child moves into a home. It includes information about the child and updated information for resources. Formal letters are sent to foster parents to inform them of court dates. Workers support foster families during the investigative and/or appeal process.
Foster parents are encouraged to call whenever they feel they need input or assistance from the staff. Additional training is provided to assist foster parents in caring for youth in care with more intense needs. Local foster care groups have been established. The Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory tool is used to identify parenting skills that may need to be reinforced to assist the foster parent. Foster parents create a profile to assist in matching children or youth to ideal homes. The agency/region views training as an ongoing process.
Innovative Approaches to Service Delivery - Kemmerer Village
Kemmerer Village’s implementation plan exhibits an overall attitude of cooperation and collaboration. The agency offers a private Facebook group with administrative oversight. They have dedicated foster parent support workers. They provide a private training room with internet access for foster parent use. Caseworkers have an in-service training on information that can be disclosed to a provider, including HIPPAA regulations. The agency/region provides a Lending Library. Pre-placement visits are offered. They have developed and continue to employ sections of their COVID plan. Caregivers are not penalized for recognizing and expressing their own limitations. Many avenues of foster parent support are offered, including Care Now by LifeWorks.
Foster Parent Involvement - Chaddock
Chaddock’s foster parents were contacted weekly, by phone or virtually, to gather input. Workers are responsive to foster parents. Foster parent surveys were used and resulted in positive feedback from foster parents. Their Foster Parent Council reviews the Foster Parent Law and holds training. The Foster Parent Law is “part of our culture.” Staff had weekly contact with foster parents to help them feel supported during the pandemic. They used DCFS foster parent survey results to help shape their implementation plan.
The agency/region’s mission is to strengthen children and families through innovative trauma and attachment-based services. Relationships are primary. Foster parent training and support groups are offered after work hours. Special support services are offered to help families eliminate barriers to reunification and for placement stabilization. Attachment and Trauma Parent Coaching Program for foster parents is offered using monetary donations from outside. Foster parents were given a book written by staff to address raising children with challenging behaviors. Chaddock offers in-house therapeutic mental health and counseling services along with a Foster Parent Support Group/Book Club that meets weekly.