May is National Foster Care Month and a time to salute staff and foster parents, who play an important role in the lives of these children. Nor should we forget the parents of the children who are working hard to bring these children home and care for them there, and those who have successfully done so.

LCFS’ foster care program was started in the 1980s in response to a need, which we know all too well exists today.

According to the latest country-wide numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in FY14* (October 1, 2013-September 1, 2014):

  • Point in Time. On September 30, 2014, there were an estimated 415,129 children in foster care.
  • Entries. During FY 2014, 264,746 children entered foster care.
  • Exits. During FY 2014, 238,230 children exited foster care.
  • Trends. The numbers of children in foster care on September 30 of 2014 (415,129) remain lower than those in care on the same day in 2005 (513,000). However, FY 2014 saw an increase in these numbers as compared to FY 2013 (400,989).

* Information from: www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/foster.pdf

More than 14,500 children are in foster care in Illinois and our FY15 numbers show that LCFS:

Supervised the care of 1,480 children in foster homes

  • 478 in Northern Illinois
  • 333 in Cook County
  • 359 in Central Illinois
  • 310 in Southern Illinois

Helped 339 foster children achieve permanency

  • 209 by family reunification, 102 through adoption, 28 through private/subsidized guardianships

Provided 9,615 hours of clinical services to 406 cases involving children in foster care

  • 3,163 hours in 112 cases in Northern Illinois
  • 3,503 hours in 185 cases in Central Illinois
  • 2,949 hours in 109 cases in Southern Illinois

Numbers can tell you a lot, but what they don’t really give a picture of is the hard work, long hours, love and care that go into these cases. I have seen it from our dedicated staff, foster parents and biological parents as they work together to make better lives for these children in our care.

Don’t forget the numbers, but never forget the people behind them.

— Gene Svebakken, LCFS Chief Executive Officer