CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today appointed Arthur Bishop as the director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Bishop has led the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) as director since 2011 and previously served DCFS for more than a decade. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of all people and children in every community across Illinois.
“Arthur Bishop is a long-standing public servant who has dedicated his professional career to helping Illinois families,” Governor Quinn said. “I am confident that he will carry out the mission of the department by making the safety and well-being of children across the state priority number one. I thank acting Director Denise Gonzales for her commitment to protecting children and stepping up to ensure a smooth transition.”
Arthur Bishop brings more than 35 years of experience in the fields of child welfare, community mental health and substance abuse with extensive work in human services administration. Bishop first joined DCFS in 1995 as a caseworker after working at several social service agencies in Chicago. While at DCFS, Bishop later served as a field service administrator and eventually moved up to Deputy Director of Field Operations. Bishop served in this role for ten years before being named Director of the IDJJ in August of 2010.
“I appreciate this new undertaking from Governor Quinn and for the continued opportunity to serve our state,” Bishop said. “Every child deserves a safe environment and there is no greater responsibility than keeping our children out of harm’s way. I am eager to work with department staff to ensure we carry out the mission of protecting and serving the youngest residents of our state.”
As Deputy Director of Field Operations at DCFS, Bishop had primary oversight and development of two of the department’s major initiatives including Family Advocacy Centers and Fatherhood Programs. Bishop, an ordained minister, also represented DCFS on the Governor’s Taskforce on the Condition of African American Males. Under Bishop’s tenure as Director of the IDJJ, the population of youth in state facilities dropped to under 900 as of January 1, 2014. Historically, the average population was 1,500.
At the IDJJ Bishop championed partnerships with city and state resources. Under his leadership, the department was recognized by the MacArthur Foundation, receiving the “Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice” Champions for Change Award. He also co-chairs the Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership Council.
Mr. Bishop holds a master's degree in Human Services Administration from Spertus College in Chicago, and an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights.
IDJJ Chief of Staff Era Laudermilk will become Acting Director effective immediately.
Governor Quinn today also made a number of key appointments to the state’s boards and commissions, including Beth Fiorini of Rock Falls to the State Board of Health; Brad Cole of Carbondale to the Human Rights Commission; and Michael Perry of Wilmette to the Workforce Investment Board. Today’s announcement continues the Governor’s commitment to making Illinois government more accountable, transparent and effective.
As a result of Governor Quinn’s efforts to make the executive appointment process more accessible and transparent, residents who are interested in serving on boards and commissions can now apply online. For more information on all of the state’s boards and commissions, or to apply to serve on a board, please visit Appointments.Illinois.gov.