A Message from Our Founder & Executive Director
Dr. McConnell founded Let It Be Us in 2014
At Let It Be Us, I lead a team that shares the vision of a safe and loving home for each child in foster care and for those awaiting adoption. We play a pivotal role in solving pressing problems. We embrace a commitment to justice and a sense of urgency regarding our work. We work in partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as well as all Child Welfare Agencies throughout the State of Illinois. We are a strong voice on critical life-affecting challenges for the children we serve. We are the first nonprofit organization of our kind in Illinois and, I believe, in the nation.
I am especially proud of designing and implementing our Open Home Navigator Platform (Placement Support Program) with my Let It Be Us team, which I believe to be the first program in the country to operate a proprietary database of licensed and open homes, which when combined with unique search and matching tools, it can swiftly and effectively locate licensed and open foster homes for waiting children. Our child-specific recruitment tools offer customized solutions for each child referred to us, ensuring their placement in well-matched, safe and loving , long-term homes. Our team can make placements in moments and hours rather than days, weeks, or never at all. Providing faster and stronger placements improves permanency, alleviates shelter capacity, alleviates congregate care capacity, and alleviates strain on DCFS and agency staff.
I’m also proud of our Foster Care Recruitment Program which recruits hundreds of new families each year for agencies throughout Illinois. Let It Be Us specializes in recruiting for
- Emergency Foster Care
- Specialized Foster Care
- Therapeutic Foster Care
- Traditional Foster Care
We contract with Partner Agencies to provide recruitment expertise and our contribution of efficiency and cost-effectiveness save them time and resources while allowing them to reach their recruitment goals. We embrace Diligent Recruitment and all of our staff have been trained and certified in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by Northwestern University.
Our Springboard to Adulthood Program is technically an Independent Living Opportunity (ILO) with a significant added benefit – a family. The goal of the Program is to place teens with appropriate families, particularly those who have experience with teens who have experienced trauma who will be long-term supports. For those who are not able to be placed in homes, we provide family-like housing with licensed foster homes mentoring them. These families are called “Springboard Families” and we believe they are the strongest and most experienced foster parents. The young people in the program benefit from our wrap-around services that provide educational and employment opportunities that will allow them to be self-sustaining throughout their lifetimes.
Together with a Board of Directors consisting of incredibly talented experts in foster care, adoption, education, marketing, public relations, media, social media, and fundraising, our work was launched in Illinois in March of 2014. Our Board Chair, Vince Foglia, of the Foglia Family Foundation, came on board in 2024 because he so strongly believes in our mission and the impact that our work has on the lives of children in foster care.
I am experienced in recruitment, matching and placement by education and training, and I worked on a statewide child specific recruitment initiative for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for over 15 years. This experience gave me a front row seat to the incredible fact that Illinois has many children in need of families, through both foster care and adoption. This was the fundamental premise on which I founded Let It Be Us. Our children and teens need families and we are now recruiting those families and making placements within those families.
I am the chair of the Illinois Statewide Foster Care and Advisory Counsel’s Permanency Committee, where we use our larger voice to bring about change. (Note that Illinois ranks last in the nation at permanency.) I am a recipient of a congressional award for my work in foster care. And, as a parent to 4 children, 3 joining our family through adoption, I have a responsibility and a passion for the Let It Be Us mission.
I am available to speak to groups or to meet with stakeholders, donors, or grantors to discuss the mission of Let It Be Us.
Thank you for your interest in Let It Be Us. Our work not only helps our most vulnerable children, it benefits generations to come.
Susan A. McConnell, DSW, MBA
Founder and Executive Director