Gov. Pat Quinn has appointed Richard Calica, a social worker with over three decades of experience, as director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, beginning Dec. 15.
Former DCFS director Erwin McEwen stepped down amid allegations of misappropriated money.
Since 1978, Calica has been executive director of the Juvenile Protective Association, which provides treatment and counseling to young families with either a history of or a risk of abuse. The JPA is an offshoot of an organization founded in 1901 by Jane Addams and is one of the child welfare groups that helped form DCFS in the 1960s.
“We are committed to ensuring that the children of Illinois have the support and protection they need to become healthy, productive and responsible adults,” Quinn said in a statement. “Richard Calica’s decades of experience in caring for neglected and abused children bolster our efforts towards building a better future for all Illinois children.”
Calica has also served on the faculty of the Institute for Clinical Social Work and at the Loyola University of Chicago School of Social Work. He was chairman of the Governor’s Task Force on Family Preservation from 1993-1994, and chairs the DCFS Risk Assessment Advisory Committee.
Calica holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago and completed a post graduate fellowship in clinical social work at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center Division of Psychiatry. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brooklyn College.
“All children deserve the opportunity to grow up in a healthy environment with strong support systems,” Calica said. “It is my highest priority to ensure the safety of our children and I am honored to accept this new mission to help and protect children who are abused and neglected.”