Translational Research creates a wide range of projects and partnerships centered on four areas.
Supports and Needs Identified in Serving Postsecondary Students in Care: Findings from the Survey of Postsecondary HOUSE Liaisons
Public Act 102-0083 was passed in July 2022, taking effect in August 2022. This law requires all higher education institutions to designate at least one staff member to serve as point-of-contact support to homeless students and students who were (or are) in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). These positions are called HOUSE liaisons. More information about these HOUSE liaisons is needed as this position is new. The Translational Research team affiliated with the DCFS Office of Research and Child Well-being worked with a broad-based advisory team to design and disseminate a survey to HOUSE liaisons in May 2023. This report summarizes the findings of that survey.
Voices of Youth in Care: Responses to the DCFS Youth Experiences Survey (September 2020-September 2021)
In 2019, the Illinois State Legislature enacted SB1743 (P.A. 101-166) which requires the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) “to develop and process a standardized survey to gather feedback from children who are aging out of foster care and from children who have transitioned out of the foster care system.” The first report of this survey was completed in December, 2021. DCFS surveyed youth currently or formerly in foster care, aged 17-26, to inform improved supports in education, employment, social services, healthcare, criminal justice, and housing.
The link above connects to a set of research reports and materials on guardianship, which is a rarely used, but promising permanency option designed to increase permanency rates and reduce racial disparity. These include:
October 2023 – Report of Findings from a Survey of Caregivers: The Illinois caregiver survey was designed to capture caregivers’ perspectives on the permanency process, adoption, and guardianship. There were 137 caregivers who completed this survey, and they shared information about the 335 children in their care.
September 2023 – Report of Caregiver Interview Findings: This report presents results from interviews with 11 long-term kin and fictive kin caregivers of Black children in substitute care. The interviews examine the caregivers’ experience of permanency planning for the children in their care.
June 2023 – Report on the Survey of Permanency Professionals: This report presents findings from a survey of Illinois permanency caseworkers and supervisors. The survey captured permanency professionals’ perspectives on the permanency process, adoption, and guardianship. This includes questions on 1) factors affecting the permanency process, 2) the comparison of adoption and guardianship, 3) circumstances supporting guardianship, 4) race disparities in the permanency process, and 5) professional development and support.
March 2023 – Report on Professional Interview Study: This report presents results from interviews with 40 Illinois professionals doing permanency work, including caseworkers, casework supervisors, DCFS attorneys, guardians ad litem, and judges. The interviews examine professionals’ experience with, and opinions about, subsidized guardianship and their perceptions regarding the role of race in permanency work.
The purpose of this analysis is to provide an exploratory description of the geographic landscape of transracial placement in Illinois. This analysis is one component of a multi-component research study on transracial placements in Illinois, that focuses on supports needed for Black children and youth, particularly those placed in white foster families.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services surveyed youth in care age 12 and older about their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and the supports they would like to support their identity.
This fact sheet overviews research and data on child and family well-being in Illinois including defining neglect, needs and characteristics of families involved with DCFS intact family services, race disparities in the child welfare system, and community conditions that are related to substitute care entry and child maltreatment.
This data analysis project focused on understanding the extent to which local, community-level factors explain differences in substitute care entry rates for Illinois’ 102 counties and 3,101 residential census tracts. We examine the role of community factors averaged over a five-year period (2016-2020) on average rates of substitute care entry over the same five-year period.
This survey gathered valuable data regarding the implementation of clinical assessments of children and youth under the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). This data collection was used to inform rate structures and develop support services for clinical assessment providers. The survey focused on gathering information about the clinical providers’ experiences conducting clinical assessments, factors that may influence the time required to complete clinical assessment, recommendations for support to enhance quality and efficiency of assessments for children and youth served by Illinois DCFS.
Caseworker and Clinician Perspectives on Clinical Integration in Child and Family Team Meetings: Select Findings from the Evaluation of Clinical Integration in Child and Family Team Meetings
CI-CFTM was an ambitious pilot project of the Immersion Sites, the Integrated Assessment team, DCFS Clinical, and the Juvenile Protective Association (JPA) evaluation team aimed at improving the clinical response to youth who had significant histories of trauma and emotional and behavioral problems soon after youth entered care. This brief includes selected findings from the evaluation of clinical integration in child and family team meetings with a focus on the survey data.
Public Act 100-0879, enacted in August 2018, created a bi-partisan task force to: 1) study the compensation and workload of child welfare workers, 2) determine the role that these factors play in the recruitment and retention of the child welfare workers, and 3) determine the role that staff turnover plays in achieving safety and timely permanence for children. This report contains the findings of their literature review and survey, as well as the recommendations that the task force made to improve child welfare worker retention.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services released CFRC’s findings after their five-month review of the agency’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline. The DCFS announced that it will adopt all recommendations from the Center’s report, and has already started efforts to address key recommendations, particularly increasing staffing and upgrading technology.
The Translational Research team creates a range of resources, such as:
The Translational Research team creates a range of resources, such as:
Data analysis related to support for improvement planning
- data analysis on the relationship of community characteristics to substitute care entry rates
- geospatial mapping of child welfare data for targeted service delivery, trend analysis
- analysis of SACWIS case records to understand implementation of child and family team meetings (CFTMs) to inform improvements in CFTM delivery
- surveys developed to improve service delivery, such as for Family First legislative requirements, CFTMs in Immersion Sites, services to transition-age youth, services to prospective kinship caregivers regarding subsidized guardianship
- analysis of administrative data on educational progress and performance of children in Illinois state care to determine service gaps and needs
Literature review, literature summaries, article writing, or meta-analysis
- on workforce retention strategies, supports for LGBTQ+ youth in care
Cross-state data collection and summary of research from other states’ approaches
- hotline management, competency-based assessment
Research to inform child welfare training development
- Family First training curricula, training curricula to assist foster families
- coordination of a learning forum on using predictive analytics in child welfare to connect researchers and DCFS/POS partners