An Evaluation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services New Birth Assessment
As of June 30, 2011, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) was caring for over 600 young people who were either pregnant or already parents. These young people will require a wide range of services and supports if they are to make a successful transition to adulthood and take good care of their children. Providing the “right” combination of services and supports to each parent in DCFS care begins with a comprehensive assessment of their individual needs. Since March 1, 2011, DCFS has required that a “new birth assessment” be completed every time a DCFS youth becomes a parent, whether by giving birth or fathering a child. DCFS asked Chapin Hall to evaluate the implementation of the policy. That evaluation included three components: interviews with the specialty workers who are responsible for completing the new birth assessments and the supervisors who oversee their work; interviews with youth for whom a new birth assessment had recently been completed; and an analysis of data reported by the specialty provider agencies to DCFS. This report describes the evaluation, presents its major findings, and discusses their implications for practice and research.