Legislators, advocates call for change after 9-children died while in DCFS care

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CHICAGO (CBS) – We’re learning the list of children in the care of the state welfare agency to die since December has now jumped to nine.

It left legislators and child advocates clamoring for change at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

CBS2’s Chris Tye has been investigating the agency for years and here’s what he found.

Relatives of these kids say the director of DCFS needs to clean house. Legislators say the director himself needs to go.

A department that’s been mismanaged for decades — now averaging more than a death a month of kids in their care.

Chris Tye:  What is your message to the head of DCFS as you sit here today? 

DeMarcus Osby: You need to clear the whole building out and put people in there that really want to do this job.

His daughter Amaria Osby was the sixth child in the care of Illinois’ Child Welfare Agency — DCFS — to die since December 2021.

Since her death, her caseworkers have been removed from their jobs but three more faces have been added to this grim list.

Nine child deaths ranging from seven months to 8-years-old — all with DCFS involvement.

I’Kera Hill of Carbondale is the latest. Her parents were each charged with endangering the life and health of a child.

When we asked DCFS for details on how long they’ve been involved in I’kera’s life, and the services offered — they did not answer.

"We have a director that refuses to be open and transparent." 

Representative Chris Bos says the head of the department needs to go and hearings into DCFS need to begin.

"This cycle just continues and continues," he said.   

It’s a cycle that includes the DCFS director being held in contempt of court for improper care of children.

Four months ago, we asked the director’s boss – Gov. JB Pritzker — how much longer he would keep Marc Smith in office after he’d been held in contempt 8 times.

"You’re ignoring all the progress and so is the decision to hold dept in contempt," Pritzker said. 

Since then, that number has jumped to 12 contempt cases.

The Cook County Public Guardian has pled for a judge to step in as fear grows and could add more faces to the saddest list in Illinois.

DCFS offered a statement on this latest death. They say they are deeply committed to protecting vulnerable children. And that while they had an extensive history with the family in Carbondale and was involved in the lives of many of their children, there were no reports or investigations of I’Kera. 

The timeline of specific involvement has not yet been released. 

Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago

via Syndicated Local – CBS Chicago https://ift.tt/z713CAF

July 15, 2022 at 05:21PM

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