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2023 Foster Parent Law Implementation Plan Honors

More than 25 years ago, the Illinois General Assembly determined that there was a need to establish official public policy regarding the rights and the responsibilities of foster parents. This policy is known as the Foster Parent Law. This law requires that each DCFS region and every private agency providing foster care by contract with DCFS develop an annual plan to implement the Law. The Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council is responsible for ensuring that the plans are submitted and scored each year. The council recognizes the top implementation plans submitted by agencies/DCFS regions on an annual basis


Three foster care agencies and regions were selected by the council for recognition this year.

Dignity and Respect

The 2023 award for Treating Foster Parents with Dignity and Respect was presented to UCAN. Their implementation plan described many ways foster parents are treated as professional team members. Caregivers may expect a phone response from workers within 36 hours. A training coordinator is available for one-to-one consultations with all foster parents. The licensing specialist creates a training plan with foster caregivers to encourage feedback about their training needs. Foster parents receive both printed and verbal meeting summaries. The agency utilizes an abbreviated process for resolving payment issues and they are researching and considering a “pay card system” which may eventually be used with their foster parents. The agency has developed a “daily rate table” in Excel for foster parent reference. They have revised the method used to resolve payment problems, based on foster parent recommendations and special consideration is given to foster parents facing financial hardship. In-home behavior management services are offered to support their foster parents. The Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council determined that UCAN should receive this year’s award for Treating Foster Parents with Dignity and Respect.

Innovative Approaches to Service Delivery

Kaleidoscope was recognized for Innovative Approaches to Service Delivery. They presented selected Foster Parent Law rights and responsibilities in monthly newsletters to solicit plan feedback. Foster parents are also encouraged to submit feedback by phone or email. The plan-related grievance procedure was reviewed and approved by foster parents. Narrative #1 states that the foster parent’s voice is invaluable at every level of the treatment process. Their plan recognizes that the relationship and communication between a foster parent and the youth’s assigned worker is central to ensuring that youth receive the best care and services. Foster parent input is highly regarded and necessary in establishing goals, assessing progress and addressing areas of concern. Self-assessment and mutual assessment are reviewed at the annual foster parent evaluation. Treating others with dignity and respect is the foundation on which therapeutic and professional relationships are built in this agency. The agency utilizes The Foster Parent Law to support this responsibility. Kaleidoscope has a Foster Parent Advisory Committee. The agency uses a Foster Parent Buddy approach. Upper management is accessible to foster parents through attending trainings and private contact. The 2023 award for Innovative Approaches to Service Delivery was awarded to Kaleidoscope.

Foster Parent Involvement
Children’s Place Association

Children’s Place Association received the 2023 award for Foster Parent Involvement. The agency’s goal is to “develop and maintain an atmosphere of trust and understanding among all members of the child welfare team. They offer specialized training for medically complex needs. When contact information changes, foster parents receive an updated list “immediately.” Expenses not covered by the medical card are typically reimbursed by the agency, through DCFS or public resources. Close monitoring and various checks and balances are in place to ensure caseworkers are sharing needed information. Foster parents are expected to understand the needs of their foster child and effectively advocate for the child their care. The agency trains foster parents in the systems affecting their foster children, i.e., juvenile court, ACR, CRTM, legal assistance, etc. Networking is encouraged. The agency makes every effort to assist foster parents in planning to attend conferences and training, i.e., video meetings, financial assistance, childcare, etc. Foster parents have both formal and informal influence on the agency’s management. Foster parent survey results impact training, policy and procedure, etc. Their implementation plan indicates a strong respect for foster parents and the council voted to present the award for Foster Parent Involvement to Children’s Place Association.