- Foster Care , Latest News
- February 1, 2022
Learn about how Let It Be Us’s innovative programming helps children in Illinois Foster Care
Let It Be Us, an Illinois licensed child welfare agency, has developed innovative programming for foster care that responds to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service’s (DCFS) urgent needs regarding child welfare. Focusing on targeted foster parent recruitment and general foster parent recruitment, as well as child placement, all Let It Be Us programs are designed with the goal of increasing foster care permanency. Remaining in a single foster home throughout development—the definition of foster care permanency—has been shown to achieve the strongest outcome for children in foster care.
Let It Be Us utilizes innovative technology to operate a database of licensed and open foster homes and utilizes targeted search capabilities in an open home navigation system. We recently added a new messaging technology which allows us to reach licensed foster homes faster, which translates to getting children in homes faster, shortening or preventing a stay in a shelter or in a caseworker’s office. These solutions are available at a time when the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is struggling the most to place children in licensed foster homes, which are the safest and least costly solution.
Information on the Let It Be Us foster care innovative programming is as follows:
Placement Support Program (Open Home Navigator)
A key part of our innovative programming for foster care is our Placement Support Program which serves caseworkers and investigators. Let It Be Us operates a database of licensed and open homes (700+), licensed with DCFS or POS (Purchase of Service) agencies. Let It Be Us also utilizes sophisticated search tools to locate additional licensed and open homes, growing the database. The Program has recently added a messaging technology used to locate licensed homes within a mapped range of a town, city or zip code.
The main benefits of the Placement Support Program are to alleviate strain on caseworkers and investigators, to place children and teens in foster care in licensed foster homes faster, to alleviate shelter capacity, and ultimately increase foster care permanency.
- The Program is managed by an experienced and licensed child welfare expert with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and an experienced staff.
- The Database is security protected, cloud-based, and accessible by all Let It Be Us recruiters from any location at any time.
- The Program focuses on Chicago and the Northern Region of Illinois, but also serves the entire State of Illinois.
- The Program employs extensive search tools to locate licensed and open foster homes outside of the database via:
- Social media subscribers (11,000+)
- Email subscribers (5,000+)
- Database of Illinois licensed foster homes (700+)
- Messaging solution subscribers (700+) (new)
Foster Parent Recruitment Program
The foundation of our innovative programming for foster care that enables the long-term achievement of foster care permanency is our Foster Parent Recruitment Program. Let It Be Us recruits new foster and adoptive parents through professional live Zoom webinars during the pandemic era, and utilizes Zoom webinars and live events outside of the pandemic era. Let It Be Us employs its own professional recruiters to work with child welfare workers, combining the experience of each to create a team that is greater than the individual strengths. We believe that recruitment begins with foster care education.
The main benefits of the Foster Parent Recruitment Program are to alleviate recruitment strain on caseworkers and investigators and to increase the number of licensed foster homes in Illinois. The program improves placement achievement and foster care permanency.
- The Let It Be Us Zoom recruitment events take place multiple times per month and focus on different populations in foster care.
- The events are open to everyone, regardless of location.
- The number of individuals attending events is unlimited.
- People are welcome to attend multiple events, and often do.
- Let It Be Us has hosted 50+ Zoom recruitment events since the pandemic era began.
- Let It Be Us has recently contracted to manage the complete recruitment efforts for a POS agency. More contracts are expected.
Foster Parent Licensing Support Program
Our innovative programming for foster care includes the Let It Be Us expert licensing team. They work with each newly recruited family, educating them, answering their specific questions, vetting them, and ultimately introducing them (referrals) to the right agency recruiter in their area. The Let It Be Us licensing team provides excellent customer service and remains engaged with the new family, ensuring licensure.
The main benefits of the Foster Care Licensing Support Program are to reduce strain on agency recruiters and to increase the number of licensed foster homes in Illinois. The Program increases successful recruitment, placement and foster care permanency.
Springboard to Adulthood Program (new!)
Our newest piece of innovative programming for foster care is the Let It Be Us Springboard to Adulthood Program. It fills a significant need for young people ages 15-24 who are in foster care and who are at risk for aging out of the system without a family or permanent support system to guide them. Let It Be Us functions within the placement of these young people and then offers wrap around services to improve retention and outcomes.
The benefits of the Springboard to Adulthood Program are to reduce strain on agency caseworkers, improve outcomes, and establish permanency.
- Work with young people who have long-term experience in the foster care system but never landed in a permanent and supportive home
- Young people who want to embrace educational and employment goals
- Young people who can live comfortably within a family structure, or on their own with a family mentorship system in place
If you are interested in learning more about our innovative programming for foster care, please contact:
About Let It Be Us
Let It Be Us is a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the landscape of foster care and adoption in Illinois. Our mission is to inspire foster care and adoption so more children in care grow up in stable, healthy homes. Funds raised will go to programs that build the strong and innovative bridge between our waiting children and foster and adoptive parents. Learn more at letitbeus.org
Susan McConnell is the founder and executive director of Let It Be Us. (www.letitbeus.org) She is the vice-chair of the Illinois Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council and the chair of the Council’s Permanency Committee. Her doctoral work at the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dvorak Peck’s School of Social Work focuses on permanency within foster care.