In addition to the overall responsibility of addressing the needs of employees, those seeking employment, children and families relative to discrimination issues, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) also focuses on identifying issues unique to the Latino, Asian-American, African-American, Native American and LGBTQI+ communities served by the department and makes recommendations to address those issues.
African American Services
The Office of African American Services (OAAS) advises the director on state and national matters regarding service delivery to African American staff, clients and provider agencies. OAAS evaluates DCFS policies and procedures to ensure that they are sensitive to African American cultural needs and overall well-being. It offers career development for existing staff, continuous recruitment of additional skilled staff and specialized trainings and workshops to foster and adoptive parents. OAAS aids in examining alleged and official complaints of discrimination and/or unfair treatment against African American employees, applicants and service recipients and works in conjunction with the African American Advisory Council to uphold and implement initiatives and goals.
Asian and Pacific Islander-American Services
The Office of Asian and Pacific Islander-American Services advises DCFS on matters regarding service delivery to Asian and Pacific Islander-American (API) staff, clients and provider agencies; evaluates DCFS policies and procedures to ensure that they are culturally sensitive; facilitates the development and implementation of long-term strategic goals which maximize services to DCFS API clients, agencies, and staff; and makes recommendations about how to remedy issues which adversely impact the API community.
The Office of Latino Services (OLS) is charged with implementing the policies and procedures associated with Latino services and issues for the Department of Children and Family Services. It also coordinates with private agencies that have contracts with DCFS; oversees translations and interpretations between Spanish and English while communicating with Spanish-speaking families; develops strategies for recruitment of Spanish-speaking and bilingual foster parents; and provides oversight in retention and recruitment of Hispanic/bilingual applicants for employment with DCFS.
Native American Indian Child Welfare Advocacy
The Native American Indian Child Welfare Advocacy Program consults with Illinois child welfare staff on matters regarding service delivery to Native American Indian families that are involved or may become involved in the child welfare system. Program staff participate in statewide and national matters regarding service delivery to Native American Indian families; facilitate communication between the Illinois and Tribal child welfare system; assist child welfare staff in identifying 'Indian children;' advocate for Native American Indian families in the child welfare system, community and court settings; and provide support to child welfare staff regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).