DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) has been appointed to serve on a Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) working group of legislators from the House and Senate.

A press release says the working group is tasked with developing policy and solutions to help improve the state’s child welfare agency.

“My involvement with DCFS over the past two years has given me the experience and knowledge necessary to work with the agency on solutions to problems the General Assembly can help with,” said Rep. Caulkins. “Protecting our children that were abused or neglected and making sure these children are properly cared for is not only my priority, it is the mission of DCFS. While making sure our children are safely being cared for, I will also ensure DCFS protects the rights of parents and guardians.”

The Illinois DCFS was created in 1964 as the nation’s first cabinet-level state child welfare agency, the release says. Until then, the state’s child welfare responsibilities were housed in the Department of Mental Health. Additionally, limited services and placement programs for children were provided by several state agencies, private agencies, and county courts.

Around 4,000 children were served during the department’s first year of operation, compared to a peak of 51,000 children in foster care in 1997 and 15,000 today. In addition, DCFS also licenses all daycares in Illinois.

For more information about Rep. Caulkins appointment to serve on the DCFS working group, or to share your thoughts or ideas with the Representative, you can call his district office in Decatur at 217-876-1968.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.