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Child Welfare

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Advocacy for Child Welfare Providers

To create a child welfare system that prepares youth to become successful, self-sufficient adults, Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) seeks to focus the attention of Illinois’ elected officials in all branches of government on the systematic challenges facing the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the private agencies that deliver many of the services within their communities. We work continuously with lawmakers and other stakeholders to educate them about the impact of nearly two decades of neglect of this system, and to advocate for the investments and reforms that are needed to fund and sustain the community-based providers of child welfare services.

Some examples of ICOY’s work building community-based providers' capacity include:

  • Proposed legislation for the General Assembly to establish a rate methodology to adequately fund and sustain the child welfare system by giving community-based providers an annual cost-of living adjustment based on the consumer price index used by DCFS (2020). 
  • Performed joint advocacy to ensure that providers have the resources they need to accommodate the rising minimum wage and wage compression (2019-now).
  • Secured new funding for community providers, including a 5.9% rate increase for community-based child welfare providers (2019).
  • The passage of the Child Welfare Workforce Task Force and Human Services Contracting Task Force bills, which increase the visibility and representation of organizations from the private child welfare sector within state agencies (2019).
  • ICOY led the Pay Now Illinois Coalition of social services providers who filed suit seeking payment for work completed under hundreds of unpaid state contracts (2017).

Capacity Building and Innovation in Child Welfare

ICOY is leading the Illinois Intact Family Recovery Program (IL-IFR), which connects child welfare services with substance use disorder (SUD) treatment for Intact Family participants who are identified as needing additional recovery support. The IL-IFR program is an evaluation-based initiative that engages 15 local and state organizations serving 21 counties in Illinois providing co-case management support through a Recovery Coordinator, who supports the family in their recovery process, and an Intact Worker, who supports the safety and stability of children and their families.

The program lasts up to 18 months and provides ongoing support and services to families in three stages:

Stage 1:

The team helps families prepare for substance use treatment, including planning for child care, transportation, and medical care. The Recovery Coordinator will complete an assessment identifying the SUD needs of the client and ensuring they are placed in the best services to support them and their family.

Stage 2:

The team supports the family during the treatment process and works to strengthen and develop parenting skills, develop personal goals, and create post-treatment plans.

Stage 3:

The team continues to support the family in maintaining sobriety, strengthening parenting skills, and reaching their goals.

Partners in the IL-IFR programs include:

  • Advocates for Human Potential
  • Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness
  • The Baby Fold
  • Bethany Christian Services
  • Center for Youth & Family Services
  • Chestnut Health Services, Inc.
  • Children’s Home & Aid
  • Illinois Association of Behavioral Health
  • Illinois Department of Children & Family Services
  • Illinois Department of Substance Use Prevention & Recovery
  • Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
  • One Hope United
  • Remedies Renewing Lives, Inc.
  • Stepping Stones, Inc.
  • Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities

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