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Foster Care Support Services Provided in Illinois

Posted on in Adoption

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, foster child,Foster care is designed to be a temporary solution, eventually leading to adoption. However, Illinois officials also want it to be a positive experience – or at least as positive as the experience can be under the circumstances. That is why the Department of Children and Family Services works with foster families to ensure that every child’s needs are met. The department provides a variety of services, including:

  • Financial assistance – Foster parents generally receive a monthly stipend to cover the child’s food, clothing and other personal expenses. The stipend amount depends on the child’s age.
  • Medical care – Illinois pays for every foster child’s necessary medical expenses as well as for preventative care. The child’s foster parents will be given a medical card that is accepted by many hospitals and for approved prescriptions. DCFS will also tell parents how to find a physician for their foster child.
  • Education services – Foster children generally attend public school. (The state will not pay for a foster child to attend a private or parochial school.) However, if a foster child requires special education, the state will pay for those services.
  • Personal support – A supervising child welfare agency and the foster child’s caseworker are available to provide support services on a daily basis. Such services include support groups, after-hours numbers and informational newsletters.

Youth Advise DCFS on Foster Care Services

Under a new Illinois law that took effect on January 1, DCFS must convene a Statewide Youth Advisory Board and regional youth advisory boards to work with DCFS on foster care services. Board members are appointed by DCFS and must be between 14 and 21 years old and be either former or current foster youth. The state board’s responsibilities include:

  • Providing DCFS – as well as the Illinois General Assembly – with a foster youth’s perspective;
  • Identifying adoption, guardianship and other foster care issues and recommending solutions;
  • Advising DCFS on proposed or pending legislation that affects current and former foster youth; and
  • Making recommendations on DCFS foster care and child welfare service policies, guidelines, procedures and training.

The regional boards are required to hold monthly meetings, while the state board must meet at least five times a year. Each regional board will send an executive member to represent its interests on the state board. (Note that such meetings are not open to the public.) The DCFS director (or a person designated by the director) will meet with the state board on a quarterly basis to discuss any concerns that the board has about the state’s foster care services.

Foster children are often the subject of custody disputes, adoption hearings and other family law proceedings. Our experienced Kane County family law attorneys have experience handling these issues. Contact us today for a consultation. We can assist those in the St. Charles area.

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