Illinois Foster Care Advisory Council discusses parent-survey results
At a recent meeting, the Illinois Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council, a division of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, discussed the results of a recent foster-parent survey.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services acts in the best interest of every child it serves by helping families provide a safe environment for their children and strengthening families at risk of abuse or neglect.
Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council
Northfield Center, 3800 Northfield Drive, Springfield
Friday, May 6, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Boyd, Gladys Barlow, Pauline Byrd, Geneva
Cruz, Edith Burris, Charlene Dyer-Webster, Debra
Dreska, Cheryl Carbonaro, Hope Grove, Michelle
Hannon, Gordon Dixon, Irma Jones, Linda K.
Holt, Darrin Gregory, Donna Lautemann, Jill
Jones, Stephanie Hoyt, Rachel McGlothlin, Terry
Kalas, Kurt Olson, Sarah Richmond, Elizabeth
Keefe, Ken Webb, Pamela
Cathy McCoy, serving as Chair in Sarah’s absence, welcomed everyone to the meeting and
asked them to introduce themselves.
Approval of Minutes from April 22nd Conference Call
Kellye Norris made a motion to approve the minutes. Kurt Kalas seconded. Minutes were
approved as written.
Final Reports to Director
There were no final reports submitted to the Director. The monthly report to the Director was
submitted on the first of the month.
Preparation for Summit
Terry reviewed the agenda for the day of the Summit.
Terry reported that all of the agency reviews were completed by the end of April. There are still
some that need to be submitted to Gwenn. Gwenn will transcribe them and have them ready for
final signoff by council members at the June meeting.
Council members gave feedback on how the foster parent survey calls went this year. (This was
the first year where council members did the surveys rather than APT.)
• The first question is “How many children do you have in your home”. That was
sometimes a red flag to the foster parent being called.
• Foster parents were not expecting the call so some did not want to participate because
they thought it was a scam. It made calling uncomfortable.
• When training is done on the agency review process we need to include clear instructions
on making the calls to foster parents.
• Many didn’t know what the implementation plan is.
• Many had questions and wanted someone to hear their concerns.
• Review this with the Policy Committee
• Clarify/accentuate in the letter that goes to agencies that they should notify their foster
parents that they might receive a call.
• Put in the newsletter so that foster parents know to expect a call.
• Do the surveys ahead of time so that the results are available to council members
conducting the agency reviews.
• If they have concerns give them a person to call – supervisor at the agency or advocacy.
• Some speak Spanish – can the list indicate if they only speak Spanish?
• It was requested that Gwenn/Terry do a summary of foster parent surveys for council
• Partner with a Spanish speaking person from APT or another source or do the DCFS
language line or Office of Latino Services – Jose Lopez or Lourdes Rodriguez. DCFS
also has an interpreter service.
• Put another article in the newsletter about the FP Law.
Training – TCAFS – Sharva Hampton-Campbell
TCAFs are being kicked back looking for more specific details about the content of the training.
This information is not always easily accessed by foster parents. Sharva is reviewing them all.
Training needs to be evidence-based. We don’t want to cause delays, so we are asking the FTLs
and RTMs to go to agencies and work with them more to clarify what we need and why we need
it. Foster parents need the information that we need, but with more specificity. We can’t always
get that. If we are audited, auditors want to know what the content is and what information was
given to the foster parent. They need to give an overview of what was covered. Sharva has
started drafting a letter to go to agencies. The TCAF needs to be changed. The concern is that
the process is becoming more difficult and restrictive. There is not a lot of training provided by
DCFS, so foster parents have to go to community resources. Sharva said we still have classroom
trainings but foster parents are not coming to the classes. She said they will also add trainings if
necessary. There are a large number of foster parents taking advantage of the online options.
QPI is also coming out with digital training options. They are working on a portal on the VTC
so foster parents can go in and access training available that meets OIG standards. We still need
to figure out how to make it available to foster parents who do not have computer access. Ken
said it is reasonable to expect a summary of training content. Some titles are very vague.
Information on how the TCAF is to be completed and what has to be attached should be included
in the newsletter.
The FTLs are calling to get more information on TCAFs to avoid delays. Lori Horgan is
working on updating the VTC and it should be done by July 1.
Sharva said she would like to get away from books because we don’t have the clinical staff to
analyze the content.
Cheri said the Foster Parent Library is great. There is a small fee to use it. Adoption Learning
Partners is another option and it is free to foster parents.
Training Update – Sharva Hampton-Campbell
They have been working on developing training curriculum for the Emergency Foster Care
Program. The EFC is scheduled to be piloted in June and start in July.
PRIDE training – The curriculum was sent for administrative approval and they made more
changes. QPI is also going on and some of that information will be incorporated.
The Council dismissed from 10am-1pm to attend the Partnering With Parents Summit.
Foster Parent Law Awards - Terry
Awards will be presented at the June meeting to the three agencies selected by Council members
for exemplary work on their Foster Parent Law Implementation Plans. The award recipients are:
Arden Shore & LSSI in Foster Parent Involvement and Children’s Place Association in Dignity
Super Advocate – Robyn Harvey
Robyn Harvey has been chosen as a “Super Advocate” through a grant through the National
Foster Parent Association, Generations United and NACAC. She applied along with eleven
others from Illinois. She will attend meetings in June in Washington, DC in this role. They will
have meetings at Capitol Hill and testify in front of congress. She will bring information back to
support groups, councils and to the administration. It is a year-long appointment. They are
seeking funding and think they have found it through the Dave Thomas Foundation. There
might be additional advocates added and next year they are hoping to add another 25. She will
share the information on that as it moves forward.
Robyn has been involved with the QPI and is chairing a couple of those committees. In QPI the
court staff, administration, court workers, licensing workers, caseworkers, etc. were all in the
same room talking about foster parents being partners. We are not there, yet, and need to
continue to put our voice out there in any meeting. When one of us speaks to a legislator they
listen. When more speak they will take notice. There is potential in these groups.
Quality Parent Initiative (QPI)
Cathy asked if anyone had an update from QPI. Robyn went to the QPI conference at Ft. Worth
Texas. QPI is a philosophy. They look at the policy and procedures that need to change to
support what they want to see. Most of the places utilizing it are county based child welfare
systems where the work load is smaller and more manageable. Illinois is one of three states that
are state-based child welfare systems trying to utilize it. There were ten states represented in
Texas. They shared what other states are doing. They are doing models of One Church One
Child in Florida for recruitment.
There are three sites currently working on developing the QPI initiative - CHASI in Cook
County, Rockford (Winnebago County) and E. St. Louis. Carol Schaffer is the point person in
QPI. Each site has a liaison.
Robyn said in Rockford the judges are coming regularly and giving their feedback. One of the
foster parents said they are afraid at court. Judges say, “We need to hear from you.” They are
going to offer the system to videotape a welcome from the bench talking directly to foster
parents about his court room. He will give them a virtual tour, talk about court etiquette, what he
wants to hear from foster parents, etc. It could be put on-line and offered as DCFS training. The
other thing judges are going to do is have a quarterly open house where foster parents can go in
and meet the judges. Every QPI site will look different because regionally we have different
things going on. It will be interesting to see how it works with policy and procedure. The group
has now broken down into committees. Robyn is leading a committee on recruitment and
retention. Their next meeting in Rockford is June 14th.
Kurt is chairing the committee on training at CHASI in Cook. It is a bit strange since it is just
their agency. People are excited about it. The key is that we have gotten people together who
are used to sitting on opposite sides of the table. Public guardians, training and staff are working
so we are not stepping on each other’s toes but figuring out how we can do it together. We need
to look at the results and what we want the result to be. They just had meetings to come up with
action plans. They have identified things that could be done. The next step for us is to figure out
who is going to do them. Cook is two months ahead of the Rockford group.
Trend in Kane County – Cathy is working with a group that is starting a juvenile court
remediation group. It will be up and running by end of year and it will bring everyone together
when cases seem to get stuck. They will use independent mediators to break down those
barriers, and will bring foster parents in to provide input as part of the professional team.
Adolescent Issues – No report
Policy & Legislation – Darrin mentioned two pending pieces of legislation:
HB 6233 talks about criminal convictions that bar licensure. It will remove the list of
convictions that bar licensure and says any felony conviction in the past year, etc. It was referred
back to the rules committee on 4/22.
HB 4966 foster home quality of care – If a foster home is revoked, expired, etc., they can’t apply
to renew or reapply for five years. There was a House floor amendment that on request the GAL
can request a copy of the file. Robyn said we need to watch that. Not all licensing workers do
their work in a timely manner. This could be a problem if they failed to take you off hold, get
renewal paperwork submitted, etc.
There is also a move to take voluntary holds away. Agencies have to report all homes on hold.
This stems from the huge number of homes on hold. This moved on to senate committee with an
amendment for GALs to request a copy of the licensing file. Cook County GALs do this much
more than anywhere else.
Anyone can see a synopsis or full language of any legislation at ILGA.gov.
The Policy & Legislation Committee will have a quick meeting following this meeting to set
some agenda items for the rest of the year.
FPSS Committee – Edith Cruz
A meeting is being planned for all FPSS on June 8-9 in Chicago.
Respite – Gladys - No report.
Nominations Committee – Mike tallied the nomination ballots. Of those nominated, Mark
McDaniel is the only council member who accepted nomination as Chair. Donna Gregory and
Gladys Boyd accepted nomination as Vice Chair. Ballots will be mailed to all council members
and officers will be announced at the June meeting.
Hope was unable to attend but sent the following report:
• CWAC Co-Chairs participated with DCFS Leadership this month, providing input on the
Child Welfare Strategic Plan. The first draft should come to the full CWAC meeting next
week. More feedback opportunities will be available prior to finalization.
• CWAC Foster Care – Continue work with DCFS on details related to the Emergency
Foster Care Program. A finalized plan should be coming soon as DCFS would like to
roll this out as soon as possible. Private Agencies will be interviewing and selecting
foster parents and DCFS will select their foster parents.
• Permanency barriers - The group is working on issues that create barriers to permanency
for children and will prioritize to take to full CWAC.
• A new CWAC group on recruitment and retention has been initiated and has had one
meeting so far. Some primary goals will be related to recruitment efforts and also
retaining current quality foster parents.
• CWAC SOC – This group is providing input re: the State’s move toward a managed care
environment. We are looking at other state models and gathering information at this
• A new Committee on Workforce Development will include hiring, developing and
keeping staff. Bev Jones from LCFS and Pete Digre are co-chairing.
• The next CWAC meeting is scheduled for May 12th.
IFAPA – Gladys
She met with Deputy Director Larry Small and the Director. She will be on a committee that is
doing a summit. The attendance will be about 700 people. She said 50 foster/adoptive/birth
parents would be invited for each judge that is coming. She said the Director also said he would
consider a foster parent conference for August 2017.
Michelle said that the Strategic Planning & Clinical Divisions are working with AK Consulting
from Florida on the summit. Judges, attorneys, and other stakeholders will come together for a
kick-off for the new immersion sites around the state. We will start with three or four. The goal
is getting the stakeholders involved and making sure we are using the trauma informed lens.
They plan to add three or four sites at a time until it is statewide. The immersion sites are: Rock
Island, Waukegan, St. Clair/Belleville area. They will be meeting weekly.
They met last week to plan a full year’s schedule. This month’s meeting was moved from the
first week to the second for logistical reasons. They are having early intervention come for a
presentation. The regional council is involved in QPI and they are hoping they will also be
involved in the immersion site. They will not meet in the summer. Robyn said Cheri represents
the Northern Region well with the Rule 402 issues.
Southern Region – Nothing new to report
Central Region – Stephanie’s group meets in Decatur. She said she spoke to Cynthia Cherry at
lunch and she said she would pre-approve their training and then Stephanie would just need to
send her the sign in sheet of all who attended. They are doing a lot of TBRI foster parent cafes,
and will start incorporating working with bio parents. They are taking summer off.
Cook North – They had a presentation on Domestic Violence from 10-noon on May 10th.
They have a foster parent appreciation event scheduled for May 24th from 6-9pm. Dinner will be
held at the Crystal Light banquet hall in Burbank, IL.
Cook South – No report
Cook Central – No report
Gladys Boyd made a motion to adjourn. Kellye Norris seconded. Meeting adjourned at 2:50.
June 17, 2016
Sheraton Lisle, 3000 Warrenville Road, Lisle.