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D-Rate Program

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The D-Rate Section provides assistance to CSWs by identifying and assessing the needs of children with special needs, and ensuring that a caregiver’s home meets the child’s identified needs in accordance with the provisions of the Katie A. Settlement Agreement.

A “D-rate” is a special funding category for foster care providers who have received special training to provide care for children with special needs due to a mental health diagnosis.  D-rate providers must complete a special training in order to be certified in this category. 

To be placed in a D-rate home, children must be assessed to meet criteria. In most cases, the initial referral for a D-rate assessment of a child is made by the CSW.  After processing the referral, the initial assessments are completed by the Department of Mental Health (DMH).  DMH contracts with private providers (psychologists) to go to the home and assess the child and the situation.  The D-rate funding is effective only as long as the need exists. 

The goal of the D-rate Section is to:

  • Assist the case-carrying CSW with the formulation of a viable case plan that will meet the child’s specialized and specific needs, including three (3) to five (5) goals to be attained within the next six month period.  This goal includes the provision of resources, community support and linkages and brokerages to comprehensive and innovative mental health services.    
  • Work with D-rate foster caregivers to help them achieve better outcomes with their children and addressing their needs and concerns.  These would include direct access to a knowledgeable, clinical D-rate Evaluator who can address their concerns.  

Sixteen (16) D-rate Evaluators, who are all licensed clinicians with many years of DCFS experience, are assigned to regional offices to serve the approximately 2,000 D-rate children.  They are supervised by two (2) Licensed Supervising Children’s Social Workers and team with five (5) Medical Case Workers and one (2) Supervising Psychiatric Social Workers from DMH.  Each child’s case is reviewed/recertified every six months to evaluate progress, revamp goals and modify treatment options as indicated.

A team composed of the CSW, D-rate Evaluator, DMH Medical Caseworker and ideally other persons involved in the child’s treatment plan (caregiver, child, teacher, doctor, etc.) develop a plan to determine the appropriate foster home, related requirements and expectations of the caregiver and treatment modalities responsive to the results of the D-rate assessment.  The team also formulates a viable case plan to meet the child’s specific needs including the three to five goals to be attained within the next six month period.  The CSW’s case plan must be congruent with this plan.

Please refer to the D-Rate Policy


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