Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about DCFS issues on northeast trip

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker says the state is working to address the issues within the Department of Child and Family Services at an event at Harvard University in Boston this week.

In January, a report released by the Illinois Inspector General showed that in 2022, nearly 50 more children died while in the custody of DCFS than in 2021.

Pritzker was asked about those issues during a Monday forum.

"Addressing the problems that these children face requires a comprehensive solution," Pritzker said. "It is not just about how we protect that child, but also how do we change the dynamic for their family."

State Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, has been vocal on this issue and told The Center Square Pritzker has been unwilling to discuss these issues with lawmakers.

"Instead of going to Boston and talking to the Kennedy Center, he ought to be coming to us and talking to us about the problems that we have with this agency," Reick said. "I don’t want this to become a political thing. It can’t be a political thing. It’s got to be done through the agency of government, but the fact is he is turning it into a cause of the left, and there are kids dying as a result."

The report by an inspector general for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services shows 171 children died while in contact with the department last year alone.

Pritzker said he is working on getting DCFS the resources it needs to improve.

"I came into office and because I have been involved with young children for a long long time, and said I am going to stand with the Department of Children and Family Services to put the resources in and get the help that is needed," Pritzker said.

Reick said nothing can be fixed with DCFS until Pritzker opens up and starts to work with the lawmakers in Springfield.

"It isn’t like we are not getting the attention we deserve, we are being completely ignored," Reick told The Center Square. "The fact that remains is, all the things I am doing about DCFS is with an eye towards getting the agency fixed and keeping kids safe."

DCFS in Illinois receives $1.5 billion in taxpayer money annually.

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April 12, 2023 at 02:07PM

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