The Advocacy Office for Children and Families responds to complaints, concerns, inquiries and suggestions about the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The staff provides referrals to appropriate DCFS staff and suggestions to executive staff for improvements and changes to the department. Anyone can contact the Advocacy Office. Frequent callers include foster parents, biological parents, adoptive parents, service providers, children and adolescents and DCFS staff.
What steps should I take before I call the Advocacy Office?
Problems may arise due to a difference of opinion or a misunderstanding. By taking the time to talk and listen, many issues can be resolved before contacting the Advocacy Office. First, voice your concerns to your DCFS or private agency caseworker. If the caseworker does not provide satisfactory assistance, contact the caseworker’s supervisor. If your issue is still unresolved, contact the Advocacy Office either by letter, telephone or email.
What should I expect when I call the Advocacy Office?
Advocates will take the time to listen to your concerns. You and the advocate will work together to determine the specific issues. Once this has been accomplished, steps can be taken toward a resolution. The advocates are customer-friendly in that they address issues in a timely manner and maintain an impartial viewpoint. If the advocates are unable to answer your question, they will suggest a resource that is better able to assist you.
The Advocacy Office does not:
- Investigate actions that do not involve DCFS or the agencies with whom we contract.
- Investigate the acts or decisions of courts, judges or their staff.
- Investigate the Office of the Public Guardian or the Attorney General.
- Investigate agencies of the federal government.
- Accept or investigate reports of child abuse or neglect.
Youth Hotline: 800-232-3798
The Youth Hotline is available to handle complaints, concerns, inquiries and suggestions made by youth served by the department. Youth may call the number above or submit their questions via email. For more information about how the Advocacy Office helps youth in care, read the Advocacy Office Youth Services brochure in English or en español.
Burgos Consent Decree
The department must comply with the Burgos Consent Decree of 1977, a federal mandate which requires DCFS to provide services in Spanish to Spanish-speaking clients and those requesting services in Spanish; and that DCFS offices that serve Spanish-speaking families be staffed with Spanish-speaking direct service workers. For more information about the Burgos Consent Decree, read the brochure in English or en español.
DCFS is now certifying requests for U Visas. The U visa is an immigration benefit that can be sought by victims of certain crimes who are currently assisting or have previously assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of a crime or have been the subject of a child abuse or neglect investigation conducted by DCFS that led to a qualifying criminal activity and have DCFS SCR investigation documentation. DCFS can only certify information concerning DCFS investigations. For more information, read the flyer in English, español or Polish (Polskie).
Service Provider IDentification and Exploration Resource (SPIDER)
The Service Provider IDentification and Exploration Resource (SPIDER) is a free, comprehensive service resource database for youth and families in Illinois. SPIDER connects you to nearby organizations offering programs and services to support children and families, including detailed information on more than 1,700 agencies and over 4,200 social service programs. All agencies and programs are geo-coded to allow you to locate resources near your preferred location.
SPIDER provides detailed information on agencies and programs that offer mental health services, caregiver support, educational advocacy, vocational and employment training, mentoring, enrichment programs like leadership development and after school programs and much more. To begin using SPIDER, click here: spider.dcfs.illinois.gov. To learn more, read the SPIDER brochure in English or en español.
Need help or want to know more?
Read the Advocacy Office for Children and Family Services brochure in English, español or Chinese (中国) for more information or contact the Advocacy Office:
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
800-232-3798 or 217-524-2029
You may also refer to these resources for additional Information:
- A Guide for Parents who are Mexican Nationals brochure in English or en español
- Burgos Consent Decree brochure in English or en español
- Client Rights and Responsibilities poster in English or en español
- How to Connect with Your Brothers and Sisters in English or en español.
- Protect Your Rights as a Father brochure in English or en español
- Service Appeal Process brochure in English, en español, or en français
- What You Need to Know about a Child Abuse or Neglect Investigation brochure in English, español, Chinese (中国) or Polish (Polskie)
- Your Rights as a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Client brochure in English or en español
- Youth in care may download the Youth Bill of Rights wallet card in English and en español and the Youth Bill of Rights poster in English and en español.
Voter Registration Forms (In accordance with (10 ILCS 5/1A 17))
Illinois State Board of Elections
Election Schedule and Registration Deadlines
Illinois Online Voter Application
Illinois Voter Registration Application Form (English)
Illinois Voter Registration Application Form (Spanish)