Private Groups Seek Child Welfare Reins
Rob Thomas Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
A group lobbying on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church said Monday that it had a solution to the child welfare problems plaguing the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services: Hand them over.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois said at a news conference that, by the year 2000, the state agency should let private social agencies handle its more than 45,000 child welfare cases. Currently, private agencies already provide foster homes and follow-up work for about three-fifths of those children.
"This is not DCFS-bashing by any stretch of the imagination," said Larry Drury, executive director of the conference's Springfield diocese. "I think it's important not to look at this as the Catholics taking over the world."
Drury said a community-based system of direct care for abused and neglected children would provide more accountability and better care for individual children. Under the group's proposal, the state children and family services agency would take an administrative role, overseeing the licensing and monitoring of private facilities.
Sister Julia Huiskamp, who works for Catholic Conference of Illinois in East St. …