OFFICE OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF PROGRAMS

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Program Divisions (OAS) is responsible for IDHS programs and services related to the six program divisions as well as the following new or crosscutting initiatives: The New Americans Immigrant Integration initiative - a partnership, led by the Governor's Office of New Americans, to coordinate policies, actions, planning, and programs with respect to immigrant integration; Smart Path - a campaign to make integration a priority at every level of IDHS with every work process and with every staff member; Illinois Rescue & Restore - an initiative developed in coordination with the Federal government to combat labor and sex trafficking in Illinois; the Limited English proficient (LEP) initiative - a project designed to increase access to IDHS services for the LEP community; Illinois Welcoming Center - a pilot to offer a one stop shop for immigrants to enable improved access to services; and the Open Door Pilot Project - designed to provide comprehensive access to all IDHS and community services regardless of the system entry point.

Accomplishment(s)/Progress

  • IDHS has introduced a number of initiatives that serve to increase access to IDHS services for the limited English proficient population. In addition to providing a bilingual pay differential for employees that meet a set of proficiency criteria, IDHS has also implemented a standard process for testing and training the proficiency of contracted interpreters. The language proficiency of state staff help to facilitate the delivery of quality services.
  • The Illinois Welcoming Center (IWC) was opened in Melrose Park to offer a One-Stop shop for immigrants to enable them to access services in healthcare, education, labor and employment available through the state to help newcomers more easily integrate into their new communities. The initiative was the first in a series of initiatives that emerged as a result of the New Americans Executive Order 2005-10 which charged state agencies to identify and address the needs of our newest residents. In its first year, the Illinois Welcoming Center exceeded internal benchmarks serving nearly 2,000 customers through a variety of programs and services. Currently, the IWC is engaging in partnerships and collaborations that make accessing services even easier for immigrants in the Melrose Park community.
  • With the support of the Michael Reese Health Trust, IDHS is piloting the Open Door Project in Cook County, a project designed to provide comprehensive access to all IDHS and community services regardless of the system entry point, eliminating duplication of services. Many IDHS customers experience a myriad of issues, which are confounded by the lack of an integrated service delivery system. The Open Door is designed to streamline the way customers are helped, and to meet emergency needs to keep them on their feet. IDHS has just launched a second pilot site in DuPage County.
  • In partnership with the Salvation Army, IDHS will hold a human trafficking awareness and outreach day on April 25, 2009. IDHS is also engaged in a competitive process for obtaining funding to enhance the services provided by and for the Illinois Rescue and Restore Coalition.

Funding will also be used to provide outreach and training for grassroots organizations, for the purpose of increasing awareness of the issue of human trafficking, and rescuing victims of human trafficking.

DIVISION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH AND PREVENTION

The Division of Community Health and Prevention (DCHP) is in the midst of a transformation effort (Integrated Prevention Framework) to strengthen and integrate delivery of its services at the community level. All of the division's key functions are being examined and standardized across work units. These functions include: compliance monitoring; community support assessment; community support delivery; quality review and support; state-wide best practices, policy issues, and standards development; community assessment and capacity building; internal DCHP integrated prevention networking; and external integrated prevention networking.

By July 2010, the Integrated Prevention Framework will be implemented throughout the division and its local service provider partners.

DIVISION OF HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT

PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENTS

The Division of Human Capital Development utilizes outcome and performance measures to gauge successful delivery of services to our clients. The following measures are representative of the types of tracking currently done on a regular basis:

  • Percent of TANF, Medical Assistance - No Grant (MANG), and Food Stamp Applications disposed timely Percent of Food Stamp payment accuracy
  • Percent of Food Stamp participation Percent of TANF caseload meeting work participation
  • Percent of TANF caseload working

TITLE XX SOCIAL SERVICES

During FY 2009, The Bureau of Title XX Social Services initiated new programs and/or made improvements to programs for Kinship Care; Open Door; Re-entry for Ex-Offenders; and Flood Disaster Relief. Information about these programs has been dispersed in other areas of this report.

DIVISION OF MENTAL HEALTH

The Division of Mental Health (DMH) provides ongoing leadership in mental health treatment and policy through system integration initiatives, competence development, consumer development and continuous quality improvement. Continuing emphasis is on developing systems integration at the statewide level that parallels the relationships that community mental health centers develop at the local level. This includes joint planning and integration of services within the IDHS and with agencies and organizations at the state level that address housing, education, vocational rehabilitation, and the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

In September, 2008, the DMH was one of six states who DMH whose selected to receive the Jail Diversion-Trauma Recovery (Priority to Veterans) grant award. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) the award provides more than $2,000,000 over a five-year period.

The project, designed by DMH and, entitled Veterans Reintegration Initiative (VRI), targets veterans of OEF/OIF with trauma reactions and divert them from the criminal justice system. The demonstration sites, in Cook County and Rock Island County, focuses on two system intercept points: Law Enforcement (street level diversion) - through the development of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) curriculum specific to veterans issues and Specialty Courts (Mental Health and Veterans Courts). Relying on two Veterans Linkage Specialists (one in each county) veterans with trauma reactions will be diverted from the criminal justice system to evidence-based treatment services at Thresholds, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago and Robert Young Center. VRI also includes a significant Recovery Support component involving Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP), Peer-to-Peer networks and Veteran Recovery Support Specialists.

DIVISION OF REHABILITATION SERVICES

COMMUNITY PROVIDER CONTRACT IMPROVEMENTS

In 2008, DRS developed a new set of mechanisms for improving service efficiency and accountability in its system of contracts with community rehabilitation providers. This initiative was in part a response to a monitoring visit by representatives of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the federal agency that funds the vocational rehabilitation program. The mechanisms include introduction of two new forms that improve the accuracy of referrals and documentation of successful employment outcomes. In addition an internal review and feedback process was established to ensure that errors identified in the process are corrected in a timely manner. In the first six months the new mechanisms have eliminated hundreds of potential billing errors and prevented overpayments to providers.

CHICAGO TRANSITION TEAM

DRS established a transition team in conjunction with the Chicago Public Schools in order to improve transition services to city high school students with disabilities. DRS uses vocational rehabilitation funds to support staff positions at CPS which are essential for providing transition services to over 1,500 students with disabilities. The transition team consists of DRS office supervisors, CPS managers, CPS transition staff and the DRS quality assurance manager. The team meets regularly to ensure that services are consistent with VR program regulations and timelines while meeting the needs of students, families and education staff.