St. Louis Public Radio News
3:38 pm
Tue April 29, 2003

Former IL Foster Child Named DCFS Director

Chicago, IL – A task force that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed to study the state's foster care system issued a report Monday, saying the Department of Children and Family Services should change its focus to help older, more troubled youths who are in the system longer.

And the man who chaired the task force now is in charge of the department. Blagojevich appointed Bryan Samuels to replace Jess McDonald, who stepped down last month after nine years.

The report finds that the average age of children in custody is about 15. That compares to an average between nine and ten back in the mid-1990s.

Samuels, himself a former ward of the state, says most of Illinois' strategies for helping displaced children develop don't anticipate serving them for as long as many now are in the system.