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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2001

Governor Thanks Organizers of Prevent Child Abuse Month Activities

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today thanked the Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Advocacy Group who joined forces with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to organize events throughout the state to promote specific ways to prevent the tragedy of child abuse in our communities.

April is Prevent Child Abuse Month across the country. In Illinois, statewide and local organizations hosted a calendar of events including: candlelight vigils honoring those who have been victims of child abuse; Health, Wellness and Finance Fairs; child abuse literature distributions; seminars on positive parenting and domestic violence workshops; and events involving entire families to promote healthy family activities.

"I want to thank Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, DCFS and their partners and all of our volunteers who participated in this month's events," Governor Ryan said. "We've made very good strides in Illinois addressing this heartbreaking occurrence, but we still have a long way to go in preventing the abuse of our children."

Under Governor Ryan's leadership, DCFS has achieved significant improvements in adoptions, child safety and caseload reductions that have contributed to the safety of Illinois Children-including becoming the largest and only the second child welfare agency in the nation to achieve full accreditation.

One of the major reasons for the reduction in child abuse cases is the massive expansion in the number of Child Advocacy Centers, which coordinate the investigation of child sexual abuse with law enforcement agencies, DCFS, the State's Attorney's Office and local medical and mental health agencies.

Governor Ryan tripled the funding of Child Advocacy Centers over a two-year period, from $674,000 in FY98 to $1.1 million in FY99. The amount was increased even more in FY00 to 1.8 million and the FY01 funding level increased to $2.03 million. The proposed increase for FY02 is $1.28 million, which would bring the total to funding allocated for Child Advocacy Centers to $3.3 million.

Since 1998, the number of children investigated for abuse/neglect has dropped from 114,004 to 103,544. The number of children taken into protective custody has dropped to 5,060 from 6,713 in 1998. The number of cases involving sexual abuse or serious physical injury had gone from 11,564 to 10,721 and the number of children in substitute care has gone down to 31,315 from 47,029 in 1998.


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