Lawyers for the RBF/ACLU of Illinois continue to monitor our Consent Decree designed to improve care and services for children in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family services (DCFS) on behalf of all the state’s foster children.
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Much of our present work in this lengthy litigation focuses on putting programs in place to insure quality educational and mental health services for our clients. Recent cuts in the DCFS budget and rumored new cuts raise new concerns about the agency’s compliance with the decree. After we involved the court, the state agreed to reverse proposed budget cuts that would have put caseloads of some workers over the limits imposed by the decree and subsequent agreements. We have communicated with the Governor about the impact of budget cuts on DCFS services required under the court agreement. While there have been many improvements in the system, many foster children continue to have difficulty finding a stable placement, resulting in multiple moves between various foster homes and residential programs. At the request of the ACLU of Illinois, the University of Illinois Chicago Children and Family Research Center studied this phenomenon and issued a report identifying the causes of moves between placements, offering a number of possible solutions. We are negotiating with DCFS for an enforceable plan to improve the situation.