Resources for Foster Parents

Foster Parent Organizations

Illinois Foster Parent and Adoptive Parent Association
National Foster Parent Association

DCFS Advocacy Office

The Advocacy Office responds to complaints, concerns, inquiries and suggestions about the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).  Foster parents are welcome to call the Advocacy Office's Toll Free Help Line: 800-232-3798 (217-524-3715).  The Advocacy Office is located at 406 East Monroe Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701.

List of Healthworks Contact Coordinators

Healthworks provides medical case management to children who are in the custody of DCFS.  Healthworks works with the DCFS caseworker and the foster parent to ensure that the children in custody are receiving appropriate medical care.  To find the Healthworks contact coordinator in your area, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions



Questions about foster children

Q. I haven't received services for these children since they've been in my home. Where can I get help?
A. If you believe your foster child is in need of services such as counseling or mentoring services, contact the child’s attorney and guardian ad litem (GAL). In Cook County, contact the Office of Public Guardian at 312-433-4300.  Be prepared to give the child's name and date of birth. The child's attorney/ GAL should be able to help.
Q. Who can I talk to about an out-of-control teen?
A. An out-of-control teen usually means that the teen needs help. If the caseworker hasn’t been able to help you, the attorney/GAL may be able to recommend services to help get the teen back on track.
Q. What can be done when a foster child becomes pregnant?
A. If you have a foster child who becomes pregnant, immediately contact the child’s caseworker. The caseworker will be able to help assist the child with choices that are available to pregnant teens. The teen should be enrolled in the Teen Parenting Network Program and a teen parenting coordinator who specializes in cases of parenting teens should be assigned to work with you and the teen.
Q. My foster child was supposed to be in school but I didn’t have the right papers.  Who can I talk to about getting the child in school?
A. Your foster child’s caseworker should be able to enroll your child in school. If you have a problem reaching the caseworker, contact the child’s attorney/GAL so they can assist you in tracking down the caseworker. DCFS has two days to make reasonable efforts to enroll your foster child and in no event shall this period exceed more than five days.


Questions about money

Q. Vouchers weren’t granted and I can’t afford the clothing the child needs. What do I do?
A. Foster parents are given vouchers for certain items when a child is first placed in foster care. If there are extenuating circumstances (your foster child has grown a great deal or there’s been a disaster such as a fire), then the child’s caseworker should be able to get you a voucher.
Q. I didn’t get a check last month. What is the number I am supposed to call?
A. For all inquires relating to checks from DCFS, contact DCFS’ Central Payment Unit at 1-800-525-0499.
Q. I have had a foster child in my home for three months and I haven’t received a medical card.  Who can I talk to about this?
A. All DCFS wards are entitled to receive a medical card through the Illinois Department of Public Aid. If you haven’t received a medical card, contact the caseworker immediately. The caseworker has the ability to fill out the necessary paperwork for an emergency medical card and then submit paperwork so that you will receive a medical card each month.


Questions about placements

Q. We are moving out of town and want to take our foster child with us. What is the procedure?
A. As soon as you believe you may be moving out of town, contact the child’s caseworker. The caseworker should complete the necessary forms to get permission from DCFS and the court to take your foster child with you.
Q. My foster child wants and needs clothing and other personal possessions left at his/her last placement. Who should I talk to?
A. The assigned caseworker should be able to assist you in getting your foster child’s personal possessions. If your caseworker is not assisting you, contact the child’s attorney/GAL.


Questions about DCFS

Q. Who do I talk to about getting another caseworker assigned?
A. If you are having great difficulty with the caseworker, contact that caseworker’s supervisor and tell the supervisor, in a calm and detailed way, your reasons for wanting a different caseworker. It is usually difficult to get new caseworkers assigned.  You can report inappropriate conduct on the part of caseworkers to the Inspector General at 1-800-722-9124.
Q. Who do I call when I need help but can’t reach the caseworker?
A. At times caseworkers are unavailable, but there should always be a way to contact the agency in the event of an emergency. This may involve asking the receptionist at the agency to page the caseworker, or asking the receptionist to speak with the caseworker’s supervisor. Be sure to get emergency contact information from the caseworker at the time a child is placed with you (or as soon as you realize you don’t have it) so it will be available when you most need it.
Q. Who can I talk to when DCFS calls to say they are coming to get the children?
A. DCFS has the authority to remove a child from a home. The caseworker should give you information about why the child is being moved and about appealing DCFS’ decision. Unless it’s an emergency, you should receive the information in writing.


Questions about visitation

Q. How can my foster child get visits with his or her siblings?
A. A foster child who has siblings in the system is entitled to visit them at least twice a month with some limited exceptions. The agency may be able to provide you with a special service fee for hosting sibling visits.  Contact the caseworker or the child’s attorney/GAL for more information.
For more information click here

Success Stories

Juvenile Success Stories Juvenile
Success stories regarding our juvenile clients Read more
Adult Success Stories Adult
Success stories regarding our disabled adults Read more

What's New Read more

New Policy and Legislation Voices Identifies Lack of State Budget Is Dismantling Critical Services for Children Read more
New Policy and Legislation Cook County Public Guardian Testifies Before Joint Illinois Senate and House Subject Matter Hearing on Documented Abuse at DCFS Residential Treatment Facilities Read more
New Policy and Legislation New Policy & Legislation
Recently passed laws of interest to those representing disabled adults and abused & neglected children in Illinois.
Read more Adult Juvenile
Current Developments OPG Appellate Developments
Recent Appellate and Supreme Court decisions Read more

Youth Advocacy &
Post-Emancipation Services
Important information for current and former clients. Read more
   
Were you in Foster Care? Are you younger than 26 years old? You get Medicaid Health Insurance! But you have to act now! It's free to sign up!