Adoption and Guardianship Preservation Services
The single largest challenge for the Department in the coming years is the changing nature of the
children and families in the Adoption and Guardianship population. As the ward population in
Department has aged so have the 39,000 children now in the Adoption and Guardianship
population (38,675 or less by June 30, 2008). With a median age of 13.5 years for subsidy cases
there has been increasing pressure for services never envisioned when the decision was made to
make a large investment in a post adoption program.
To further enhance the progress and efforts made by the adoption preservation programs, the
agency developed 2 additional types of programming supports for adoptive/guardianship families
The first, titled the Adoption Preservation, Assessment and Linkage (APAL) Programs provide
an outreach to adoptive and guardianship homes that have a 13 and or 16 year old in their home.
The adolescent population has been targeted due to the often troubling challenges that parents
face in these years and the fact that many youth in this age group are living with older caregivers
whose own frailty may be increasing. The outreach effort includes an in-home assessment of
how well post adoption services may have assisted the family in the past as well as determines
what additional services and resources may be of assistance to them currently. These programs
then make referrals to either community resources, the Department post adoption staff or to a
series of other post adoption programs.
The second type of new post adoption supports are the Maintaining Adoption Connections
programs that were developed to provide on-going stabilization services to families that may be
referred by the APAL programs or by the Department post adoption staff. The MAC programs
provide an additional range of services to post adoption/guardianship families from crisis
intervention, assessment, respite, counseling, support groups, case management and various
forms of advocacy.
This 2 tier program structure begun in Cook County in the fall of 2007, is expanding to the
Central and Southern Regions of the state in 2008 and plans are underway to further develop and
refine these supports in FY09.
The Department will also streamline the administrative systems that are now reaching a point
where improvement in responsiveness to families needs is a new priority. Current Preservation
Services provided by the Department represent intensive, clinically oriented support offered to
children and legal families whose child is experiencing behavioral and emotional difficulties.
Services provided consist of casework, planning, counseling and therapeutic interventions
resulting from mental health problems. Adoption and Guardianship Preservation services are the
most intensive in home services offered by the Department to preserve families at risk of
dissolution. In FY 2009 initiatives and improvements will continue which were begun in FY
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