Jun 2019 / Report / Child and Family Well-Being    

2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study

Ted Cross, Steve Tran, Aide Hernandez, and Emily Rhodes

The 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study provides a snapshot of the well-being of children and youth in out-of-home care in Illinois in 2017. The Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) drew a stratified random sample of 700 children and youth from the population of children and youth in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in October 2017. The Survey Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted interviews with caseworkers, foster care providers, and children age seven and older between December 2017 and July 2018. Interviews included questions developed for the study as well as a number of standardized scales measuring child functioning and well-being.

The report documents the progress many children and youth are making, but also the disproportionate number of children who lag in development, deal with physical and behavioral health challenges, struggle in school, or face threats to their safety. The well-being data can be used to advocate for children’s needs, inform the development of DCFS policy and practice, and guide in-depth well-being research.

Jun 2019 / Report / Outcomes Monitoring    

An Analysis of Child Deaths and Intact Family Services

Martin Nieto, Satomi Wakita, Tamara Fuller, and Shufen Wang

In 2017, media attention in Illinois focused on a perceived increase in the number of child deaths following the “privatization” of Intact Family Services (IFS), meaning that cases were being served by private child welfare agencies through contractual relationships with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) rather than through DCFS itself. Following a request by the B.H. Expert Panel, the CFRC conducted an independent analysis to examine if the privatization of intact family services (IFS) was associated with an increase in child deaths due to maltreatment. The results suggest that Intact Family Services have been provided by both DCFS and private child welfare agencies since 2000, and that complete privatization of IFS did not occur, even after 2014. In addition, when all maltreatment reports involving child deaths are examined, only a small percentage (between 10-15%) have been involved with IFS within the past year or at the time of the reported death. When the child deaths that were involved with IFS were examined, there were no differences in the risk of either investigated child deaths or indicated child deaths among children served by DCFS and those served by private child welfare agencies.

May 2019 / Report / Outcomes Monitoring    

Racial Disproportionality for Children Age 0 to 5 in Illinois


Child welfare systems across the nation share the concern that children from some racial minority groups may be disproportionately represented in the child welfare system compared to their representation in the general population.1 One of the goals in the Department’s Child Welfare Transformation Strategic Plan is to track racial equity at critical decision points to help inform planning and decision making.2 With special concerns about children age 0 to 5, the Children and Family Research Center per a request from Illinois DCFS prepared this report by examining racial disproportionality specifically for this population in the Illinois child welfare system at critical decision points during 2012-2018.

Apr 2019 / Presentation / Testing Innovative Child and Family Programs    

Assessing an Innovative Method for Training Child Protection Investigators

Betsy Goulet, Theodore Cross, Yu-Ling Chiu

Presentation at the One Loud Voice Conference in Biloxi Mississippi, April 16, 2019

Mar 2019 / Presentation / Sexual Abuse and Assault    

The Role of Forensic Evidence in Arrest and Prosecution of Sexual Assault Cases

Ted Cross and Megan Alderden

Presented in Urbana at the Carle Hospital SANE Seminar, March 11, 2019.

Jan 2019 / Presentation    

Feedback from Families and Multidisciplinary Team Members at Children’s Advocacy Centers: Are there Differences Across Groups?

Wendy Walsh, Ted Cross, and Kaitlin Lounsbury

Presented at the 34th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment, January 29, 2019.

Jan 2019 / Presentation    

CAC Research: New Developments & Remaining Needs

Ted Cross and Wendy Walsh

Presented at the 34th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment, January 29, 2019.

Jan 2019 / Presentation / Testing Innovative Child and Family Programs    

Assessing an Innovative Method for Training Child Protection Investigators

Yu-Ling Chiu, Theodore Cross, Betsy Goulet, Susan Oppegard Evans, Monico Whittington-Eskridge, and Amy Wheeler

The investigator survey results in the second year evaluation of the Child Protection Training Academy’s Simulation Program were presented on January 20th, 2019 at the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Jan 2019 / Journal Publication    

Families’ Experience of Pediatric Onset Multiple Sclerosis

Ted Cross, Alane Shanks, Lisa Duffy, and David Rintell

This study interviewed parents to understand families’ experience with pediatric onset multiple sclerosis (POMS), which make up 2.7% to 10.5% of all MS cases. 21 sets of parents of children with a confirmed diagnosis of POMS were recruited from two pediatric MS centers. Families experienced stress from the uncertainty prior to diagnosis, anxiety over symptoms and possible progression of the disease, frustrations with the uncertain effects of disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), and difficulties with injections. Families had to cope with cognitive and physical effects of POMS at school, decisions about expectations and independence for the child, and extra demands POMS placed on the family. Most parents reported benefitting from support from physicians, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the MS community. Families had benefitted from DMTs, and, despite the stresses, most had adapted successfully to the illness. Advice from interviewees to other parents and recommendations for improving family support are presented.

Cross, T., Shanks, A., Duffy, L., & Rintell, D. (2019). Families’ experience of pediatric onset multiple sclerosis. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma,
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