OVERVIEW OF DCFS EARLY CHILDHOOD PROJECT
The Erikson Institute DCFS Early Childhood Project is a 24-year partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). We serve children, most of whom are younger than 5, who have become involved with the child-welfare system because of abuse and neglect.
Our specialists are experts in the developmental and mental health needs of young children, and rooted in family centered practice. They support child welfare professionals in making crucial decisions about needs and services that affect the lives of young children and their families. They listen closely to parent and caregiver concerns, and work to address barriers to families accessing early childhood services.
in considering early childhood services
around service needs of young children
to case managers
to Early Intervention
to evidence based home visiting
to special education
to infant and early childhood mental health services
Erikson’s Unique Approach
We know that a child’s well- being is most impacted by their experiences and their relationship with their earlier parents/ caregivers. That’s why our goal isn’t just to identify a child’s needs.
We work with an eye toward supporting the best possible relationship between parents/caregivers and children. We see parent/caregiver concerns as an essential part of determining which services a family needs.
As engaged advocates, we sharply focus on the caregiving relationship and the stress it may be under. We understand that there may be individual or system barriers to accessing service, and we stay with the family and case manager to assure engagement. We do so with the goal of supporting the child’s long-term health and well-being.
Child welfare staff encounter endless complexities in each family’s unique situation. With expertise in the needs of children and families who have experienced significant trauma, Erikson’s specialists support case managers with diversity-informed approaches and culturally responsive models, as well as deep concern for the experiences of families and professionals alike.
If you are a case manager who is looking support around a child welfare involved young child, we can help.
Our project staff supported case managers last year with training child-welfare professionals in early childhood screening and individual support in over 2,700 relationship- based referrals, including:
We engage with the institutions and systems that serve young children in the state of Illinois to help ensure young children and their families get the support they need, including but not limited to: