The Department of Children and Family Services is the state’s safety net for children who are being abused or neglected, yet a January 2019 report issued by the Office of the Inspector General indicates it’s a broken system.
During fiscal year 2018, there were 98 deaths of Illinois children who were at some point involved in the DCFS system, 13 of which were determined to be homicides.
One incident that showcases the agency’s deficiencies includes a 3-year-old boy who was shot in the head and killed by his 11-year-old sister with a handgun after they were left home unsupervised and played “cops and robbers.” The shooting prompted DCFS to investigate the childrens’ parents for the 11th time since 2008, including three prior investigations for inadequate supervision that were determined to be unfounded.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has indicated he wants to increase the department’s funding by a minimum of $70 million. However, throwing money into a gaping wound isn’t enough to correct the department’s policies when determining if a child should be removed from the care of negligent, abusive or incompetent adults.