|Family Reunification and Substitute Care||$ 866,936.8||881.0||$ 797,685.7||907.0|
|Adoption and Guardianship||$ 180,938.0||102.0||$ 171,016.5||69.0|
|Protective Services||$ 130,661.0||1,244.0||$ 135,203.1||1,194.0|
|Family Maintenance||$ 75,229.7||139.0||$ 79,714.8||32.0|
|Accountability||$ 49,353.0||497.0||$ 54,964.9||548.0|
|Totals||$ 1,303,118.5||2,863.0||$ 1,238,585.0||2,750.0|
Totals may not add due to rounding.
In fiscal year 2021, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has seen its hotline and investigation numbers bounce back to its volume in fiscal year 2019, after a slow-down in fiscal year 2020 due to school closures related to COVID-19. Intact Family Services and Foster Care programs have been expanding as more children and families need greater support that is beyond a quick intervention by the child protection division. Two of the largest challenges facing the Department in fiscal year 2021 were COVID-19 and staffing issues. COVID-19 has caused procedural changes in order to ensure the safety of both our staff and the families we serve. As such, we have noticed a delay in the completion of certain services, particularly in the area of license renewal, foster home semi-annual monitoring visits, and the length of time required to complete adoptions. This will continue to impact the Department, as procedures surrounding COVID-19 are still in effect. While the Department has a relatively healthy staffing level in administration and support services, there have been consistent challenges with staffing and retaining front-line workers. This has caused a strain on our current staff, and the Department is committed to a rigorous recruitment effort to increase front-line staffing to appropriate levels. Although we continue to struggle in this area, 99.7% of our investigations are initiated within 24 hours, and our workers complete 98.7% of our investigations in a timely manner.
Despite the challenging year, DCFS sustained high scores on a wide variety of benchmarks. We have increased the percentage of State Central Registry Hotline calls answered the first time (or had a message taken) to an all-time high of 98%. We had a 32% increase in the number of youth in care who returned home and did so, on average, in fewer days when compared to fiscal year 2020. There has also been an increase of about 1,500 youth who now have a return home goal, and considerably more cases have been closed. Likewise, numbers of adoptions and guardianships have increased as well. Regarding adoption preservation services, the large majority of our clients remain intact and report that post-adoption services help with their immediate needs and increase families’ level of functioning. We will continue to strive to increase permanency numbers for our youth in care, assist families with remaining intact, and continue protecting our youth in the safest way possible. Going forward, the Department hopes to continue to develop and implement innovative strategies to better serve the youth and families of Illinois.