Our job and our goal at Cook County DFCS is to match the families at risk with the resources available in hope of building
a stronger and more secure family unit. It is our belief that when families are given the tools to cope with the stresses
they are under, that the risk to children will be greatly reduced.
Cook County DFCS Services Unit
The Cook County DFCS Services Unit is dedicated to the protection and safety of the children and adults vulnerable to abuse
and neglect in Cook County. The Unit is comprised of smaller units; specialized to handle the different kinds of cases encountered
by the agency. They include the Child Protective Services Unit (CPS), Placement Unit (PLC), and the Adult Protective Services
Unit (APS). The Unit is also assisted by a Program Assistant and a Family Service Worker (FSW), who work with each individual
Unit to help provide quality services.
Child Protective Services
The CPS Unit is comprised of 5 Social Service Case Managers. Three of these workers are primarily responsible for Investigating
CPS Reports of abuse and/or neglect and providing Ongoing CPS. One of these Case Managers carries a small PLC caseload and
also investigates and provides Ongoing CPS.
One Case Manager serves as a School Resource Case Manager, which
is funded both by Cook Co. DFCS and the Cook County Board of Education. It is a collaborative effort to provide a liaison
to the schools to help streamline and enhance the work of CPS in the school system. The School Resource CM screens cases
presented at the schools, assist the schools in decision making about these cases, and assist the other Case Managers with
contacts within the school setting. This Case Manager also provides education to the students through Good Touch/Bad Touch
instruction and to the Teachers about child abuse/neglect.
The priority focus of CPS is the safety of the child.
When an investigation is substantiated, a case will be worked with through Ongoing CPS to help the family eliminate those
factors identified as having created risk to the child(ren) in the home. However, there are times when the risk is such that
removal of the child from the home becomes necessary in order to ensure the childs safety and well being. When this occurs
a child is placed into protective custody and the case is transferred to the PLC Unit.
The PLC Unit is comprised of one PLC Case Manager and one Resource Development (RD) Case Manager. This Unit provides
Foster Care for children who are at such risk in their homes that leaving them there would place their lives or well being
at great risk.
A PLC Case Manager will first work with the family in an effort to achieve reunification by eliminating
those factors that resulted in the childs removal from the home. However, the PLC Case Managers first priority is the care
of the child, which includes every aspect of day to day attention a child requires in order to meet his/her needs. This is
achieved with the help of Foster Parents and, when needed, Group Homes. Cook County is proud to have an excellent network
of Foster Families dedicated to serve the children placed in their care with the love and attention they need and deserve.
When a family has not successfully completed the goals set forth for them to achieve reunification with their child,
the focus of the PLC Case Manager shifts to finding a permanent placement for the child. First priority is always given to
finding a suitable family member willing to take on the responsibility of raising the child to adulthood. When this cannot
be done the agency will often seek a termination of parental rights through the courts, at which time the child becomes available
The RD Case Manager is responsible for finding an adoptive placement for the child once TPR has occurred.
The RD Case Manager will exhaust all possible resources for the child in order to match him/her with the best possible family.
This Case Manager also assists other counties and States, working through the Office of Adoptions, with placing children for
adoption when a resource is identified in Cook County for a child.
The RD Case Manager is also responsible for recruiting
and training prospective Foster/Adoptive Families in Cook County. The training is done through the Model for Partnerships
in Parenting (MAPP) program; a 12-week intensive class designed to prepare prospective families for Fostering and/or Adopting
children. Once a family is approved, the RD Case Manager continues to provide training for re-certification of the families
Adult Protective Services
The APS Unit is comprised of one APS Case Manager, who works with adults who have been identified as being at risk of abuse/neglect
either from others or from themselves. The adults in this caseload may also be victims of exploitation, where people have
taken advantage of them and/or have denied them of that which they need to live. The APS Case Manager is responsible for
investigating the reports and then providing Ongoing APS for people who have been found to be vulnerable to abuse/neglect
and/or exploitation. Eliminating the problems associated with these issues requires the identification and utilization of
resources that are available to those individuals. However, it has been necessary to obtain Guardianship of an adult at risk
in order to ensure their safety and well being. It may also be necessary for the agency to become a Representative Payee
for people who cannot manage their money or who are unable to do so. The APS Case Manager works with those individuals to
make sure their daily needs are met.
Family Service Worker
When CPS, APS and/or PLC need assistance working with a family or individual, they call on the FSW. This Workers responsibilities
vary from case to case, and may range from providing parenting instruction to providing transportation for Foster Children
to helping a elderly person remain in their home by assisting with day to day chores. The FSW is an integral part of the
Services Unit, whose involvement in cases has been the key element in the elimination of risk in those homes. When the FSW
is called into the case, the chances for success increase dramatically.