Many of you have received correspondence from your DCLR similar to the one pictured above. Based on this information, DCFS is going to start conducting family surveys and will be asking you for contact information (names, numbers, addresses, emails, etc) for your families at your annual visits. This has raised many questions, and we are doing our best to find out more information.
Based on information we have received, this is coming from language in the Child Care Act of 1969. The following is a quote from this section of statute:
(225 ILCS 10/6) (from Ch. 23, par 2216) Sec. 6. (a) A licensed facility operating as a “child care institution”, “maternity center”. “child welfare agency”, “day care agency” or “day care center” must apply for renewal of its license held, the application to be made to the Department on forms prescribed by it.
(b) The department, a duly licensed child welfare agency or a suitable agency or person designated by the Department as its agent to do so, must re-examine every child care facility for renewal of license, including in that process the examination of the premises and records of the facility as the Department considers necessary to determine that minimum standards for licensing continue to be met, and random surveys of parents or legal guardians who are consumers of such facilities’ services to assess the quality of care at such facilities … If the department is satisfied that the facility continues to maintain minimum standards which it prescribes and publishes, it shall renew the license to operate the facility.
It is our understanding that this section of the Child Care Act of 1969 has not been amended in at least the last 6 years. This means that this change is nothing new, but it is now being made our responsibility to provide all of this confidential information about parents with our DCLRs.
It is noted in the section though that this requirement is the responsibility of The Department which means that these surveys must be conducted by them. Please note that no where in this section does it require programs to hand over contact information for families in their programs. If DCLRs wish to conduct these parent surveys, they can pass them out to families while making their yearly visits with envelopes for them to return them back to the DCLR.
If your DCLR requests this information and you do not feel comfortable giving it out, we encourage you to request that they pass them out to families (via each child’s cubby or mailbox) while they are visiting that day. If your DCLR is insistent on recieving the information, please reach out to us at ILDOCC and we will try and help you.
Sharing confidential information is something we have to be very careful with, and we should proceed with caution before handing this information over to our reps.
Below you will find an image of the parent surveys the Department will be handing out.
These surveys leave a lot to be questioned.
- What happens if a program receives a negative survey?
- Are they denied their license renewal because of this?
- If a parent makes suggestions for what can be approved does the Department plan on funding these improvements?
Most programs aspire to make sure they are providing quality care for the children and families in their programs, and we value the importance of parent feedback; however, this should fall in the hands of the program to conduct such surveys. The Department does not need to reach out to each individual family.