Whenever possible, DCFS and our nonprofit partners offer and monitor voluntary services that allow children to remain in the home safely. Our Intact Family Program, Family Centered prevention programs and Child Welfare Services intake program provide an array of tools to ensure kids have the safe, loving homes they deserve and avoid removal.
When remaining in the home simply is not safe, DCFS strives to place children with a capable and loving relative, ideally in the same community so that children can maintain important social bonds with friends, school and other emotional anchors. When a relative is either unavailable or inappropriate for a child’s needs, we rely on a broad spectrum of licensed foster families and specialized residential centers to provide a temporary safe haven with the care, nurturing and love they need and deserve until they can return home safely.
While the department removes roughly 4% of reported child victims from their home to ensure their short-term safety, research shows that there are serious consequences when children are not reunified with their parents as quickly as possible. The department makes every effort, under court supervision, to reunite children with their families whenever possible and as quickly as possible. DCFS and nonprofit agency staff engage parents to assist them in making the positive changes necessary to remediate the safety issues that cause their children to be removed from the home in the first place. A concurrent plan is developed with all children placed in substitute care settings to ensure a permanent life plan is ready for them if reunification becomes impossible, ideally with a loving family through adoption.