Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » DCFS “On-the-Spot Hiring” event in Rockford drew double the expected crowd
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DCFS “On-the-Spot Hiring” event in Rockford drew double the expected crowd

Tuesday, Jun 6, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I posted an excerpt of this press release on the blog yesterday…

Today job seekers from across northern Illinois will participate in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) inaugural “On-the-Spot Hiring” event, which connects service-driven professionals with employment opportunities in essential areas of the state’s child welfare system.

Thanks to a collaborative effort between Governor JB Pritzker, DCFS and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS), attendees interested in pursuing careers as child welfare specialists, child protection specialists, child welfare trainees and child protection trainees will be able to meet one-on-one with DCFS recruiters to learn more about the agency and the critical roles it is seeking to fill. Qualified candidates who have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in related human service, education, criminal justice, criminal justice administration or law enforcement may leave the recruiting event with conditional offers of employment. The expedited hiring process used at today’s event is a milestone for DCFS, reducing the turnaround time traditionally needed to make an employment offer by 80 percent helping the agency to fill vital public service roles without undue delay.

“Many states across the country are experiencing staffing shortages in critical service areas, including the field of social work. Here at Illinois DCFS, we are celebrating record numbers of social workers who are joining our team,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “ During the first quarter of 2023, 77 new investigators joined DCFS, bringing the number of employees who have made it their mission to ensure the safety of our state’s most vulnerable children to 3,107 – the highest number of staff the department has seen in 15 years.”

“Thanks to the support of Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly, DCFS continues to be innovative and find new ways to solve problems while serving our children and families,” said DCFS Director Marc D. Smith, one of the agency’s longest serving chief executives in institutional history. “This hiring event is an example of how we are trying to think outside the box. Coupled with our commitment to serving children and families and our workplace culture, people want to work at DCFS, and a large percentage of our staff has been here for decades.”

DCFS representatives from the Office of Employment Services will speak with each of the more than 200 applicants in Rockford who have already registered for the event about the specific employment related duties, qualifications and training opportunities associated with open positions before shepherding them through the expedited hiring process. Qualified applicants will receive conditional offers of employment and are expected to receive final offers within four to six weeks, following complete background checks and other pre-employment requirements.

A second on-the-spot hiring event is scheduled for June 12 in Bloomington-Normal, with other opportunities expected to be announced later this year. Bilingual Spanish-speaking child protection specialists and child welfare specialists remain in high demand.

With renewed support from the governor and increased funding in the FY24 budget that begins on July 1, DCFS plans to increase headcount by 192 employees across the state in a number of positions including legal, human resources and clerical positions. A full list of openings is available online at

DCFS employment provides recession-proof opportunities to join a workplace that celebrates service. State employees receive competitive compensation and generous employee benefits, including medical coverage and defined-benefit retirement plans, as well as access to paid holidays, vacation and sick time, bereavement and family medical leave. [Emphasis added.]

* DCFS also had a big news media turnout in Rockford

Jassen Strokosch the Chief of Staff at DCFS states that there are over 150 jobs in and around the Rockford area, many of these positions are open due to the pandemic.

“We lost a lot of folks during the pandemic and this is an opportunity to fill those positions back up here in Rockford and the surrounding areas.” Strokosh said.

Qualified candidates who have bachelor’s or master’s degrees could walk in with paperwork already filled out or start the process at the door. From there candidates talked to recruiters one on one about their background, interests and qualifications.

Once that is complete candidates were asked which site they are closest to and whether or not there were positions open at that location. Finally qualified candidates received a conditional offer of employment and are expected to receive final offers within four to six weeks, following complete background checks and other pre-employment requirements. […]

DCFS representatives were expecting about 200 people for todays event however within the first hour they saw just around 400 people from across Northern Illinois.

* More

An organizer said there were a couple of reasons that they held the hiring event.

“We talked to folks about applying for a job at the state and with DCFS, and there were two things we really heard back from them,” said Jassen Strokosch, chief of staff for DCFS. “One, they wanted to find a way to do it more quickly and all in one place so they could get it all over with, and the other thing was they had a lot of questions of the job and they wanted to talk face to face with people who have done the job before and had experience and could learn more about it. It’s a very unique job working for DCFS.”

DCFS currently employs just over 3,100 people, the highest number of staff the department has seen in 15 years.


  1. - Homebody - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 10:15 am:

    I want on the spot hiring for my agency. Instead of spending 6 months to make an offer to someone who has already taken another job somewhere else in the private sector, leaving us perpetually understaffed.

  2. - Nuke The Whales - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 10:51 am:

    Well, that’s weird. I thought no one wanted to work.

  3. - James McIntyre Fan - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 12:25 pm:

    Rockford has a lot of vacancies because it is considered one of the worst DCFS field offices to work out of and because many people from Chicago take a job in Rockford while they accrue seniority and wait for a spot in Chicago to open up.

    Same for Joliet.

    Turnover in those two field offices has always been very high, which is problematic because staff do not know the communities, neighborhoods, and families like you need to in order to be effective.

  4. - Wading in... - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 12:26 pm:

    The need for such a hiring event illustrates how inept CMS Office of Personnel is when it comes to filling vacancies. It took a year-and-a-half to fill my position at DCFS after I retired. And the need for staff at DCFS goes beyond those titles mentioned in the article. That agency is starved for support staff.

  5. - ToastedRav - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 12:51 pm:

    That’s great that they can do that for DCFS….at my agency (DOIT) seems like our Hr/Personal team like to redo the process every couple months …so positions have to come done and be re-done with little to no communication. I think that falls on the chief of staff.

  6. - Frida's Boss - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 12:56 pm:

    Should be able to offer a job within 4-6 weeks at all agencies. Much less time if there is no background check required.

    Always baffles me on these union 90 day in house seniority rules first refusal. Then if that doesn’t find someone to work add another 90 day posting to fill a position. That’s 6 months. Then close the application and start the interview process. Which could take another 30-60 days or so.

  7. - The Dude Abides - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 1:57 pm:

    Friday Boss - Anyone who wants to work in a DCFS building has to pass a background check, even third party contracted janitorial staff and security guards.

    The issue isn’t hiring, it’s retention and caseload management. Caseloads are triple what they are supposed to be for the caseworkers to be effective.

  8. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 9:04 pm:

    - The issue isn’t hiring, it’s retention and caseload management. Caseloads are triple what they are supposed to be for the caseworkers to be effective. -

    If that’s accurate I would say hiring enough caseworkers is indeed one of the issues.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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