DCFS set to resume parental visits after 3-month coronavirus shutdown, but advocates say it’s ‘much too little too late’

June 19th, 2020

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which court records show has custody of Fleming’s children due to a pending abuse case, suspended supervised parental visits for all children in its care because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

After months of pressure from advocates and a lawsuit brought by the Cook County public defender’s office on behalf of Fleming and three other mothers, the enforced social distancing between parents and their children is about to end.

Full article here.

Illinois organizations urge Congress to act swiftly to address impacts on children and families caused by the Covid-19 pandemic

Illinois organizations are among more than 570 national, state and local organizations that are urging Congress for emergency child welfare support to address the COVID-19 crisis. Read letter here.

Allendale Association
Bethany for Children & Families
Child Abuse Council
Children’s Home & Aid
Glenwood Academy
Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates
Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Illinois Collaboration on Youth
Illinois-Iowa Center for Independent Living
Lawrence Hall
The Center for Youth and Family Solutions

Illinois DCFS Director Letter to FCAA-IL

Letter from DCFS Director to Foster Care Alumni Association-IL to express thanks for efforts to ensure that youth in transition are provided services and resources necessary to maintain their safety and health during this difficult time. The letter outlines the steps that DCFS is taking  to address the elevated needs of youth in transition.  Letter here

Illinois Executive Order in Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 Executive Order No. 20 was issued by Governor Pritzker on April 7, 2020 and includes Section 4:

During the duration of and for sixty days following the termination of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations, the definition of “child” under Section 2.01 of the Child Care Act of 1969, 225 ILCS 10/2.01, is suspended for the limited purpose of ensuring that persons in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services who are 18 years of age or older and are in a placement identified in the Child Care Act of 1969, are permitted to remain in their placement.

Executive Order here.

Letter to Illinois Governor and DCFS Director from Foster Care Alumni Association-IL Chapter

The FCAA-IL requests an amendment to Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 to include additional responses to provide assistance to youth who are in or aging out of foster care.

Read the full letter here.

An update from an Illinois advocate on April 4:

  • DCFS agreed to expand services until June for young people who aged out of care recently and those who will be aging out of care during the COVID crisis.
  • Rules will change to permit former youth in care who are older than 21 to continue living in the same place until June.
  • DCFS will waive requirements for former youth in care to qualify for some housing assistance programs, like FUP.
  • Former youth in care can qualify for “emancipation funds” without completing a required financial literacy course. Instead, DCFS says they will help youth get info in less formal ways (like talking with youth about financial plans).
  • DCFS did not agree to the letter’s request to automatically grant requests for assistance from youth between the ages of 18 and 21, regardless of whether those requests that regularly require court order or not. DCFS’ response was that they’d “work collaboratively with the courts to facilitate automatic eligibility for youth between ages 18 and 21 during the crisis.”

Executive order here.

Executive order here.

Advocacy Letter to Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

March 20, 2020

Letter by the Shriver Center on Poverty Policy

The letter implores the Department to create and publicize a comprehensive emergency plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that at the very least includes taking action on investigations, service plans, visitation, reunification, foster placements and other issues.

A copy of the letter is available here.