Carbondale Reporter

Carbondale Reporter

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Illinois Adoption Advisory Council Children's Justice Task Force met February 8.

By Lhalie Castillo | Jun 16, 2017

Meeting 01

Illinois Adoption Advisory Council Children's Justice Task Force met February 8.

Here is the minutes provided by the Council:

The meeting was called to order at 9:38 a.m. by Char Rivette, Chair.

Members attending: Hon. Charles Reynard, Peter Parry, Victor Feraru, Julie Cummings, Don Rose, Dr. Jill Glick, Char Rivette, Donya Adkerson, Virginia Zic-Schlomas, Billie Larkin, Judith Brucker, Rhiannon Torres, Jamie Friye, Elba Karim, and Tamela Atwood

Participating by phone: Kathy McNamara, Tammy Bates, and Annette Milleville.

Members not in attendance: Chantelle Porter, Stephen Sawyer, Dr. Channing Petrak, Paul Hamann, Evan Owens, Patrick Dempsey, and Judy Bukowski.

DCFS Staff: Mary Dreiser, Charles Talbert, Meryl Paniak, and Shirley Davis-Barsh.

Welcome and Introductions:

Char Rivette opened the meeting and requested that members introduce themselves and share information about their professional work backgrounds.

Approval of Minutes from November 9, 2016 Meeting:

Minutes from the November 9, 2016 Meeting are approved.

Public Comment – Open Meetings Act:

Meryl Paniak reminded the group on confidentiality due of the nature of our business and prior to the opportunity for any comments under the Open Meetings Act. There are no comments at this time.

Special Projects Funding Update: Judicial Education:

Don Rose provided an update regarding training for juvenile judges and attorneys. This subcommittee has been working with the AOIC (Court Improvement) to coordinate the project. Judges Reynard and Sawyer have been involved as well. They are trying to determine how best to serve communities with this project. Not all Judges are at ease in making informed decisions in juvenile cases but there has been some resistance to being “trained” vs. “educated.” Others are concerned about time constraints, conflicts of interest (i.e., trainings involving witnesses (such as medical experts) that might testify in future cases), etc. The Court Improvement Project staff suggested that focus group with judges be conducted to determine the training needs. Dr. Glick suggested that we obtain information as to what has been presented in the past so we don’t duplicate efforts. She also indicated that judges have expressed interest in scientific materials to aid in decision making. It will be important to include the attorneys in the education process as well, since advocacy can lead to increased understanding by the judiciary. It was suggested that perhaps the focus should be on the attorneys, since it is their job to present the relevant information to the court. Judge Reynard suggested that we could also author a bench book, to include some “best practice” commentary. Current funds for this judicial training project expire September 30, 2017, but new funds are in next year’s budget.

Nominating Committee:

As Vice-Chair, Kathy McNamara is looking for volunteers to form a nominating committee to propose a slate of officers. Virginia Zic-Schlomas, Victor Feraru, Charles Reynard, and Mary Dreiser will be that committee. Char Rivette requested that the committee think about the long term and succession planning (i.e., the vice chair would transition into the chair position). Kathy McNamara is also the OMA officer and indicated that we need a committee for amending the by-laws to address videotaping at our meetings. Peter Parry, Victor Feraru, and Paul Hamann will be that committee.

Task Force Administrator Update:

Mary Dreiser will be working through February 28, 2017, and then will be having another total knee replacement. She has a contract through the end of June and will return to help tie up loose ends and to train the new task force administrator. Charles Talbert should be the point of contact starting March 1, 2017. His phone number is: 312-814-6964 and his e-mail address is

For our annual calendar per the Open Meetings Act, we are keeping the same schedule for our quarterly meetings (2nd Wed. of the Month). The meetings will be as follows:

8/16/17 – Springfield, IL

11/8/17 – Chicago, IL

2/14/18 – Bloomington, IL

5/9/18 – Chicago, IL (This date was changed from the second Wednesday of the month)

Char Rivette submitted a proposal for her and Billie Larkin to present the Illinois MDT model for investigation of child abuse at the upcoming Citizen Review Panel in Alaska. Since their proposal was accepted, they will attend and represent Illinois’ Children’s Justice Task Force.

All members were provided with a copy of the Annual Report and Grant Application. Mary Dreiser provided a brief overview of the report and the budget for this year. It was noted that the next legislatively mandated statewide needs assessment and three year task force recommendations will be due in 2018. The federal project officer will be sending out more information in this which the task force will need to begin preparations for in advance of 2018.

Mary Dreiser suggested that in the future, the task force look to areas we have not yet funded – sexual abuse and homelessness, disabled victims. At the end of the year no matter how well we plan, there are always some unexpended funds. We should be thinking about small projects to fund at the end of the fiscal year. It is always our goal to spend all the annual federal allocations. Some states have an ongoing needs assessment committee who identify emerging and unmet needs.

It was also suggested that the task force look at disseminating the one page needs assessment summary which has “stayed on the shelf” due to more pressing concerns but which is still relevant.

Concerning task force membership, when the new ICASA executive director is hired, that person of a representative needs to be on the task force. That is a legislatively mandated category. One area that we have low representation is law enforcement.

Regarding the next required three year needs assessment, Mary Dreiser offered that some states complete this requirement in a cost effective way by examining all existing relevant data and research, which doesn’t always get looked at, and make their recommendation’s based upon that. She also suggested that a task force retreat which was not done during her tenure as administrator, be considered in the future as a way to incorporate new members, solidify the group and identify recommendations.

Mary Dreiser said that it has been a pleasure to work with this active, productive and dedicated group. She thanked Char Rivette for going over and above her role as the task force chair in helping to complete the two major projects: statewide needs assessment and MDT Report. She thanked Jamie Friye for recording the excellent minutes from the meetings, and Kathy McNamara for volunteering to be the Open Meetings Act Officer for the task force. She also noted the importance of the legislative and DCP quarterly updates from Meryl Paniak and Nora Harms-Pavelski. In response to Mary Dreiser’s upcoming retirement in June, Dr. Jill Glick provided an overview of the skill set that she believed was necessary for the next task force administrator.

New Committee Assignments:

The existing ad-hoc committee assignments as well as the standing committee assignments were reviewed, and new members added. Ad hoc committees are not required assignments, but standing committee participation are required for the task force members. Committee chairs will be in touch regarding upcoming tasks.

Three Standing Subcommittees: CRP Recommendations in Work Groups:

All three standing committees convened in their work groups to review the director’s responses to last year’s Citizen Review Panel Recommendations and to identify our 2017 recommendations for this year’s Citizen Review Panel Report. All recommendations should be sent to Charles Talbert by April 14, 2017. If the committees do not finish their work today, chairs will need to schedule teleconference(s) to complete them. Committees are free to make the same recommendations as they did last year or to amend them in accordance with the Director’s responses from the 2016 recommendations. All recommendations need to pertain to DCFS.


Meryl provided a legislative update. Hard copies were distributed to members.

MDT Update:

Not provided due to building being evacuated because of loss of electricity.


Meeting adjourned at 12:32 p.m. due to building being evacuated.

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Organizations in this Story

Illinois Adoption Advisory Council