Springfield, Ill (WAND) – The states child welfare agency, DCFS, is troubled by red tape, lack of oversight and workers who are pressured to keep families together despite abuse and neglect according to a critical report.
The report was put out by the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center. It was commissioned just six weeks ago. Governor JB Pritzker is promising immediate and swift action to implement recommendations in the report and says DCFS has been facing unacceptable funding cuts.
“Truly hollowed out in a way that is obviously resulting in terrible neglect, abuse and even death,” Pritzker told reporters at the Illinois State Capitol.
The governor, accompanied by DCFS Director Marc Smith, says the agency will overhaul its Intact Family Services. He also pledged to listen to experts and DCFS case workers, “who are on the ground everyday to serve and to protect our most vulnerable children and families.” The action comes after the high- profile deaths of several children including one in Decatur. DCFS will also be taking a new look at hundreds of open cases.
“DCFS is carrying out a review of 1,100 open investigations to revisit determinations that were made and to take additional steps to protect those children,” Pritzker stated.
The governor said short term fixes are already underway while many changes will be long-term.