Volume 4 • 2003
Cook County Advocate • Page 5
Cook Central’s Family to Family builds neighborhood resources
Now after receiving a decision on the region’s reorganization, Family to Family, is continuing its rollout in Cook Central. This initiative from the Annie E. Casey Foundation is committed to improving results for children and families involved in the child welfare system. Cook Central’s Local Area Network (LAN) 67 is one of three pilot sites, along with Peoria and Rock Island. In LAN 67, the largest LAN in the state, Family to Family will focus on the communities of Hermosa, Logan Square, Avondale, West Town and Humboldt Park.
The goals of this program are to:
Develop a network of family foster care that is neighborhood based, culturally sensitive, and located primarily in communities in which children currently live.
Ensure that all children who come into foster care, including teens and sibling groups, are routinely placed with families.
Increase the number and quality of foster and kinship families to meet projected needs.
Provide the services birth families and children need in a timely-enough manner that they can be safely reunited as soon as possible.
Screen children being considered for removal from home to determine what help their family needs to keep them safe, to make the help available when it is most needed, and to better support the children who must be placed outside of home.
Involve birth parents, foster parents, and kinship families as team members with our agency and one another.
Become a neighborhood resource for children and families by investing in the capacity of communities where large numbers of families involved in the child welfare system live.
Jeanette Hamilton and Teddy Spinelli make plans for an upcoming event with Cook Central families. The team works with staff in the field to support the Family to Family pilot sites.
the Hotline for investigation. Additionally, the area experienced a high level of children coming into care and being placed outside of their community of origin. The Family to Family initiative hopes to reduce those numbers.
Cook Central will invite foster parents in the communities named above to upcoming events where they can learn more about the Family to Family initiative and become active participants in the core strategies. Simply having more foster families in the child’s home community benefits children, their birth families and the foster parents. But the importance of foster parents goes even deeper.
“Foster parents are critical to initiatives’ recruitment, training and support objectives because foster parents can teach us what really works,” said Teddy Spinelli, senior foster care advisor with Family to Family.
All of the goals listed above are practices that DCFS is already in the process of implementing with families. The greater Humboldt Park community was chosen based on the statistics provided by the Division of Child Protection on cases reported to
Also, by working together with birth families, foster parents can support reunification goals and build valuable mentoring relationships. Family to Family will be the framework to bring all these elements together starting in the pilot sites and then to other communities.