Supporting Efforts to Improve Illinois’ Child Welfare System
Using data to inform programs
Chapin Hall is a long-standing academic partner of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Our team of experts bring an understanding of national and local child welfare policy and practice, and expertise in the use of administrative child welfare data. We apply all of this to improving the quality of services provided to the children, youth, and families that Illinois DCFS serves.
Chapin Hall’s work with Illinois DCFS includes:
- Maintaining an integrated database on child and family services in Illinois, which offers a nuanced picture of the experiences of the state’s most vulnerable children and families.
- Evaluating important DCFS programs and policy initiatives, such as home visiting services for pregnant and parenting foster youth.
- Providing responsive support for DCFS as issues arise, such as our review to understand systemic factors that contributed to child deaths and incidents in one DCFS program, Intact Family Services.
- Supporting DCFS’s research and analysis of its programs, such as research on residential care.
- Maintaining a longitudinal database of DCFS’ administrative data as part of The Center of State Child Welfare Data.
- Strategic consultation to support DCFS staff charged with implementing these projects and other performance improvement projects.
This work at Chapin Hall is led by Research Fellow Dr. Richard Epstein and Policy Fellow Mary Sue Morsch. Epstein has more than 10 years of experience providing research, evaluation, and consultation services to public and private child-serving agencies. Morsch served on the executive team at DCFS for 16 years and was a court-appointed consultant to DCFS for five years.
Epstein and Morsch oversee the DCFS contract, with individual projects also led by Amy Dworsky, Bob Goerge, Dana Weiner, and Fred Wulczyn and supported by teams of Chapin Hall staff with a mix of real-word and research expertise.