(20 ILCS 520/1-5)
Family foster care is an essential
for children and their families who have been separated due to the tragedy of
child abuse, neglect, or dependency. When children have been separated from
their families, it is the responsibility of the child welfare team to respond
to the needs of the children and their families by means including (i)
providing protection and nurture to children in a safe, healthy environment;
(ii) meeting the developmental and emotional needs of the children, including
maintaining and promoting a child's emotional attachment to a child's own
family; (iii) protecting and promoting the child's cultural identity and
heritage; and (iv) working toward permanency for children by connecting them to
safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime, preferably with
their own family.
Foster parents are an essential part of and fulfill an integral role on the
child welfare team along with children in care who are old enough to
participate in planning and services, parents of children in care, caseworkers,
and other professionals serving the child and family. By providing care for
children and supporting the attachment of children to their families in a
manner sensitive to each child's and family's unique needs, the foster parent
serves the child, the family, and the community.
In order to successfully fulfill their role on the professional child welfare
team, foster parents must be committed to the goal of the child welfare program
and must provide care to children and promote the best interests of the
families served. In order to achieve this goal, foster parents must understand
and be sensitive to issues of culture, ethnicity, religion, and children's
connectedness with their families and must maintain a level of care, conduct,
demeanor that is consistent with the high professional ethics demanded of all
other members of the child welfare team.
The General Assembly finds that there is a need to establish public policy
role of foster parents. The General Assembly establishes this statement of
foster parents' rights
and responsibilities, which shall apply to all foster parents in the State of
Illinois, whether supervised by the Department of Children and Family Services
or by another agency under contract to the Department of Children and Family
Services to provide foster care services.
(Source: P.A. 103-22, eff. 8-8-23.)
(20 ILCS 520/1-15)
Foster parent rights.
A foster parent's rights include, but
not limited to, the following:
(1) The right to be treated with dignity, respect,
and consideration as a professional member of the child welfare team.
(2) The right to be given standardized pre-service
training and appropriate ongoing training to meet mutually assessed needs and improve the foster parent's skills.
(3) The right to be informed as to how to contact the
appropriate child placement agency in order to receive information and assistance to access supportive services for children in the foster parent's care.
(4) The right to receive timely financial
reimbursement commensurate with the care needs of the child as specified in the service plan.
(5) The right to be provided a clear, written
understanding of a placement agency's plan concerning the placement of a child in the foster parent's home. Inherent in this right is the foster parent's responsibility to support activities that will promote the child's right to relationships with the child's own family and cultural heritage.
(6) The right to be provided a fair, timely, and
impartial investigation of complaints concerning the foster parent's licensure, to be provided the opportunity to have a person of the foster parent's choosing present during the investigation, and to be provided due process during the investigation; the right to be provided the opportunity to request and receive mediation or an administrative review of decisions that affect licensing parameters, or both mediation and an administrative review; and the right to have decisions concerning a licensing corrective action plan specifically explained and tied to the licensing standards violated.
(7) The right, at any time during which a child is
placed with the foster parent, to receive additional or necessary information that is relevant to the care of the child.
(7.5) The right to be given information concerning a
child (i) from the Department as required under subsection (u) of Section 5 of the Children and Family Services Act and (ii) from a child welfare agency as required under subsection (c-5) of Section 7.4 of the Child Care Act of 1969.
(8) The right to be notified of scheduled meetings
and staffings concerning the foster child in order to actively participate in the case planning and decision-making process regarding the child, including individual service planning meetings, administrative case reviews, interdisciplinary staffings, and individual educational planning meetings; the right to be informed of decisions made by the courts or the child welfare agency concerning the child; the right to provide input concerning the plan of services for the child and to have that input given full consideration in the same manner as information presented by any other professional on the team; and the right to communicate with other professionals who work with the foster child within the context of the team, including therapists, physicians, attending health care professionals, and teachers.
(9) The right to be given, in a timely and consistent
manner, any information a caseworker has regarding the child and the child's family which is pertinent to the care and needs of the child and to the making of a permanency plan for the child. Disclosure of information concerning the child's family shall be limited to that information that is essential for understanding the needs of and providing care to the child in order to protect the rights of the child's family. When a positive relationship exists between the foster parent and the child's family, the child's family may consent to disclosure of additional information.
(10) The right to be given reasonable written notice
of (i) any change in a child's case plan, (ii) plans to terminate the placement of the child with the foster parent, and (iii) the reasons for the change or termination in placement. The notice shall be waived only in cases of a court order or when the child is determined to be at imminent risk of harm.
(11) The right to be notified in a timely and
complete manner of all court hearings, including notice of the date and time of the court hearing, the name of the judge or hearing officer hearing the case, the location of the hearing, and the court docket number of the case; and the right to intervene in court proceedings or to seek mandamus under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987.
(12) The right to be considered as a placement option
when a foster child who was formerly placed with the foster parent is to be re-entered into foster care, if that placement is consistent with the best interest of the child and other children in the foster parent's home.
(13) The right to have timely access to the child
placement agency's existing appeals process and the right to be free from acts of harassment and retaliation by any other party when exercising the right to appeal.
(14) The right to be informed of the Foster Parent
Hotline established under Section 35.6 of the Children and Family Services Act and all of the rights accorded to foster parents concerning reports of misconduct by Department employees, service providers, or contractors, confidential handling of those reports, and investigation by the Inspector General appointed under Section 35.5 of the Children and Family Services Act.
(Source: P.A. 103-22, eff. 8-8-23.)
(20 ILCS 520/1-20)
Foster parent responsibilities.
A foster parent's
responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The responsibility to openly communicate and
share information about the child with other members of the child welfare team.
(2) The responsibility to respect the confidentiality
of information concerning foster children and their families and act appropriately within applicable confidentiality laws and regulations.
(3) The responsibility to advocate for children in
the foster parent's care.
(4) The responsibility to treat children in the
foster parent's care and the children's families with dignity, respect, and consideration.
(5) The responsibility to recognize the foster
parent's own individual and familial strengths and limitations when deciding whether to accept a child into care; and the responsibility to recognize the foster parent's own support needs and utilize appropriate supports in providing care for foster children.
(6) The responsibility to be aware of the benefits of
relying on and affiliating with other foster parents and foster parent associations in improving the quality of care and service to children and families.
(7) The responsibility to assess the foster parent's
ongoing individual training needs and take action to meet those needs.
(8) The responsibility to develop and assist in
implementing strategies to prevent placement disruptions, recognizing the traumatic impact of placement disruptions on a foster child and all members of the foster family; and the responsibility to provide emotional support for the foster children and members of the foster family if preventive strategies fail and placement disruptions occur.
(9) The responsibility to know the impact foster
parenting has on individuals and family relationships; and the responsibility to endeavor to minimize, as much as possible, any stress that results from foster parenting.
(10) The responsibility to know the rewards and
benefits to children, parents, families, and society that come from foster parenting and to promote the foster parenting experience in a positive way.
(11) The responsibility to know the roles, rights,
and responsibilities of foster parents, other professionals in the child welfare system, the foster child, and the foster child's own family.
(12) The responsibility to know and, as necessary,
fulfill the foster parent's responsibility to serve as a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse or neglect under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act; and the responsibility to know the child welfare agency's policy regarding allegations that foster parents have committed child abuse or neglect and applicable administrative rules and procedures governing investigations of those allegations.
(13) The responsibility to know and receive training
regarding the purpose of administrative case reviews, client service plans, and court processes, as well as any filing or time requirements associated with those proceedings; and the responsibility to actively participate in the foster parent's designated role in these proceedings.
(14) The responsibility to know the child welfare
agency's appeal procedure for foster parents and the rights of foster parents under the procedure.
(15) The responsibility to know and understand the
importance of maintaining accurate and relevant records regarding the child's history and progress; and the responsibility to be aware of and follow the procedures and regulations of the child welfare agency with which the foster parent is licensed or affiliated.
(16) The responsibility to share information, through
the child welfare team, with the subsequent caregiver (whether the child's parent or another substitute caregiver) regarding the child's adjustment in the foster parent's home.
(17) The responsibility to provide care and services
that are respectful of and responsive to the child's cultural needs and are supportive of the relationship between the child and the child's own family; the responsibility to recognize the increased importance of maintaining a child's cultural identity when the race or culture of the foster family differs from that of the foster child; and the responsibility to take action to address these issues.
(Source: P.A. 103-22, eff. 8-8-23.)