Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » More adventures in misgovernance
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
More adventures in misgovernance

Friday, Dec 19, 2014

* AP

llinois’ child-welfare agency cannot properly account for thousands of runaway or otherwise missing foster care children, is sloppy about keeping track of when they disappear, and can rarely show that proper authorities are contacted when necessary, a report by Auditor General William Holland released Thursday found.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services does not keep track of how many children disappear in a given year or the locations from which they vanish, the audit found.

The agency reports that, during the 2011 and 2012 audit period, an estimated 2,800 to 3,100 foster children, or state wards, disappeared in 26,500 to 29,200 separate incidents.

The agency did not differentiate between those who had run away and those whose whereabouts caregivers did not immediately know. Of 29,000 incidents, 61 were reported as abductions, while the audit found 40 of those had been wrongly classified.

Holland noted that DCFS procedures emphasize “timely action to reduce risks to missing wards.”

The full report is here.

* From a House GOP press release…

Deputy House Minority Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), the Republican Spokesperson on the Human Services Appropriations Committee, responded to the audit’s findings and called upon lawmakers and DCFS officials to take appropriate action.

“There should be no higher priority for DCFS than ensuring the safety and welfare of children in the state’s care,” Bellock said. “These audit findings underscore the agency’s failure to meet that most basic necessity and how the lives of literally thousands of young people have been jeopardized as a result. Reforms are urgently needed to fix the broken system of reporting and locating missing kids. DCFS officials need to demonstrate what actions they’re taking to correct this tragedy and the General Assembly must be prepared to respond as needed to find and protect these kids.”

The House Human Services Committee is scheduled to meet in Chicago on January 7 to receive testimony regarding documented abuse at DCFS residential facilities. The Auditor General’s report on missing wards is also likely to be a subject of discussion for proposed reforms throughout the DCFS system.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Arizona Bob - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 9:16 am:

    These are the kinds of problems you get when the Governor regards state government as a patronage perk rather than a platform for effectively serving the needs of the public.

    Remember Quinn’s pick of Arthur Bishop, who had to resign after his criminal past was discovered?

    Great job vetting appointments, Pat.

    Then, instead of hiring someone who had experience in improving operations of similar departments elsewhere after a “national search”, he picks Bobbie Gregg, a NW law school classmate of Quinn’s and a longtime political hack for the City of Chicago Dem machine.

    No doubt she’s smart. There’s just nothing in her resume’ to suggest that she can reform a political patronage haven like DCFS to make it an effective, legal and competent service provider.

    One hopeful positive for Rauner is his ability to select effective leaders for key positions. It’ll be interesting to see if he makes appointments as Governor more about politics than performance.

    Don’t worry about Bobbie Gregg. They can set her up at a juiced-in law firm at double her DCFS director salary in a heartbeat.

  2. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 9:22 am:

    Some comparative data on caseloads and staffing from FY 2000 would be helpful. Seemingly the audit only has data for FYs 2011 and 2012 (Exhibit 2-3).

  3. - zatoichi - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 9:32 am:

    Four important questions:
    1. How big are the caseloads per caseworker?
    2. How much time is spent in court, school, counseling, writing reports, and with families?
    3. How much geographic area does each caseworker cover? Huge difference between Dupage and Coles County.
    4. How many times does each person run off: never or 2x a week?

    Make all the rules you want, when difficult caseloads are hitting 75+ per caseworker you got problems.

  4. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 9:36 am:

    Lost track of thousands of kids? Maybe abducted, maybe not. They aren’t sure? OMG. This is stunning.

  5. - Out Here In The Middle - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    I agree that comparisons with past years would help with perspective, but:

    “does not keep track of how many children disappear”

    Seriously? This seems kind of important if you are concerned about the welfare of these kids.

  6. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    This is not a new issue. It was a huge issue when Rod came in.

    Something that could be at play here, and would impact the numbers of children and how they are classified, is in the past children were defined as missing when in fact, their location was known and many times they had left a placment and returned to their biological parent despite issues that led to their being placed in foster home. When that occured, and it often did with teenage wards, they had to be listed as missing from their placement.

    Not saying this is not an issue we should be concerned about, but how wards are classified as missing should be considered.

  7. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 9:51 am:

    Which states do this part of state governance well?

    How do states within the United States compare with their counterparts in Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany?

  8. - Arizona Bob - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    Anyone know how many patronage jobs and crony contracts we’re talking about here? I saw there are about 20 “directors” of various departments, and assume they’re mostly patronage jobs, but perhaps a few managers are just so good at their jobs (Kimme?) that keeping them is more important than political corruption.

    I think Rauner could make some real points here by placing a really competent CPA type to run the office for two years, then let the patronage and ego driven GOP folks fight out who will run for the spot in 2016.

    It seems with all the budgetary, corruption and incompetence issues in Illinois government(DCFS, IDOT, etc.)to be addressed, this battle isn’t worth Rauner using up much political capital to get his way.

    Just like Sam Houston picking San Jacinto for the spot to nail Santa Anna, you’ve gotta pick your spots to fight if you want to win the “war”. The comptroller office, considering the emotional loss of a popular politician associated with it, would seem more of a “Waterloo” than “San Jacinto” for Rauner in this case.

  9. - Arizona Bob - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    Sorry. the last post was supposed to go under the Comptroller office post.

  10. - VanillaMan - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    I’m not surprised. These are not stable cases to begin with. We have parents who flee the state with their children to avoid dealing with the state. There are parents being investigated fof abuse or endangement who have the ability to take their kids and leave no forwarding address.

    People are mobile.

  11. - DuPage - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    I hope Rauner does a better job with DCFS then he did with his nursing homes. The same problem in both instances seems to be understaffing.

  12. - sideline watcher - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    Need more staff. Caseworkers have loads to big to handle. That happens when you cut indiscriminately. We are running all of our agencies into the ground with such low head counts.

  13. - Stuff Happens - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    It’s not just about more staff, either. A huge part of it is retaining existing staff. It’s not uncommon to have a new caseworker every month. There’s a learning curve and more time spent every time a new person is involved.

  14. - Cassandra - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    I’d have to see the numbers before I assumed that the problem is high caseloads. The high numbers of missing/runaway state wards had become not just a state but a national issue when Blago took over in 2003, and (after Blago pressured Jess McDonald into resigning)I believe his first DCFS director set up a special missing kids unit, whose employees didn’t carry caseloads but only looked for missing wards. Not sure if this unit still exists, but it was an effort to address the problem. And now here we are again, over 10 years later.

    My point: this seems to be a perennial problem which needs yet another look, including extensive data analysis. How do we define missing when, say, teens are involved. And if the wards are running to their natural homes constantly, isn’t it time to release guardianship and return them home under supervision, since that’s where they’ll be anyway? And in the age of texting and twittering and Skype, how could any caseworker be out of touch with the wards in his caseload.

  15. - Enviro - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    Toni Preckwinkle had an informative letter in Voice of the People in today’s Tribune concerning children held in the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Cook County. She points out that the need for placing children in foster homes and detention centers is caused by the high incarceration rate of the parents of poor children. Preckwinkle sees a need to reduce the number of parents who are unable to care for their children because of incarceration for nonviolent offences, mental illness and drug dependency.

    The high incarceration rate in Illinois and in the United States causes many problems and needs to be addressed.

  16. - RNUG - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    There are lots of compassinate and competant caseworkers and staff at DCFS but they’ve been put through the wringer from budget cuts and are currently suffering whiplash from conflicting instructions from multiple directors in a very short period of time. What this agency needs more than anything else is a director that (a) udnerstands the issues, (b) has the clout to get the needed resources and (c) will be around for the multiple years it will take to get things back to a more or less normal state. And of these, right now (c) is actually the most important because you can’t fix problems when you are given conflicting directions on a regular basis.

  17. - Very Fed Up - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    Perhaps Quinn could assign some “Staff assistants” to help look into the issue?

  18. - anon - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    Give Quinn all the blame. If Rauner expects to improve DCFS, however, it won’t happen by slashing staff and resources to balance the budget.

  19. - mythoughtis - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Why aren’t the foster families (who are being paid by the state) reporting the children missing directly to the Police? The children are residing there, that’s the first place they should be missing from. It should be their responsibility in the immediate sense. Once they have done that, then they should be filing a report to the state agency… not waiting for the state agency to come on their designated visit before reporting it.

  20. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    The auditor general does outstanding work. If you really want to know how government operates, they are a must read.

    Because of the reporting problems, hard to get a handle as to what’s going on with the wards. I think that’s the point.

  21. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    After reading the report, this is horrifying. There are no acceptable excuses for something like this.

    Policy is two days to complete the form for reporting a child missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Department average was six days. In one case, it took 98 days to do so. The list of problems like this is lengthy.

    Learning of these problems from the auditor rather than the agency itself indicates there are people who were too incompetent to realize this problem was occurring, too incompetent to fix it, too careless to address it, or too morally and politically corrupt to make it public knowledge and chose instead to try and keep this quiet while ==coping== with the agency’s problems.

  22. - Demoralized - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:17 pm:


    I invite you to go spend some time with some of the caseworkers and then come back and tell us all how incompetent, careless and corrupt they are.

    I had the opportunity to tag along on some field work with a caseworker one time. It’s an extremely difficult job. And this person didn’t just work their stated 8 to 5 schedule. They went out at all hours trying to track people down.

    So, I think I’d be careful at how you portray your outrage. Should we be outraged? Absolutely. I just think your outrage is misguided.

  23. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Notice how White guys view government jobs mostly held by women and people of color?

    White guys want these jobs to have low pay, unrealistic working conditions and then they want to blame the workers when things go badly. (And they’ll blame management if it suits the political agendas of the White guy shooting his mouth off.)

  24. - carbaby - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    Private agency staff account for more than 85% of the caseloads- with DCFS workers working the remaining 15%. So keep that in mind instead of brushing a broad brush thinking this is a DCFS worker issue- this is a Child Welfare issue.

    The caseloads for traditional/relative cases have been around 18-25 for a long time. There have been no caseloads at over 50-150 since in the mid to late 1990’s. However, the new expectations and ever increasing protocols for a caseworker have far exceeded the assistance that the reduction in caseloads would have most people believe. I would never want to be a caseworker now- nor would I wish to return to management in child welfare at any agency nor DCFS.

    I see many systemic problems with what has been uncovered in this audit and given what I know I am not surprised. I am also considering that this policy and protocol has been in place for I believe over 10 years. There was a dedicated Run unit that followed these cases but I recall that dissolved due to budget cuts a few years ago.

  25. - Charlatan Heston - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    @ carbaby -I love when you weigh in on child welfare/DCFS. Thanks

  26. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Demoralized - my outrage is not focused on the people grinding away, trying to make the best of a bad situation.

    My outrage is reserved for the higher-tier leaders who know about these problems and keep their mouths shut due to personal and political considerations rather than raising heck about it.

    We should not just be hearing about these issues from the Auditor and AP. We should be hearing about these issues from the most senior leaders of the department, who are explaining the problems they found when they took over and the proactive steps they are taking to fix them. If that includes publicly calling out the ILGA or the Governor for funding shortfalls, then so be it. Losing kids is not a just a difficulty of the job, it is a five alarm fire.

  27. - carbaby - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    FKA- the most senior leaders at DCFS do not monitor the private agencies in this way to know the day to day operations and data from them. The way in which private agencies are monitored by DCFS is through the Agency Performance Team, as well as Agency Licensing and Contracts to name a few.
    Again since Private Agencies hold 85% of all cases, the heads of the agencies should be held accountable for their staff and their performance because they overwhelming hold the majority stake of all children in state care and provide the majority of all services to children and families in this State. DCFS is the always the funder and regulatory body- and rarely the service provider.

  28. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    Formerly Known As…

    Agency management can NEVER talk about such things, as it re-opens the whole issue of headcount and funding.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Rauner campaign echoes Blagojevich demand to release the FBI tapes
* Jimenez wants Sangamon County to get priority for most new state jobs
* Ives' state budget solution: Slash CPS funding and repeal Obamacare expansion
* *** UPDATED x1 - Ives responds *** Rauner promises to patch $2.3 billion hole, balance next year's budget, start rolling back the tax hike and provide "record funding" for K-12
* Dick Uihlein gives Proft group another $3 million
* Legionella bacteria might have been found at Capitol Complex
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Unclear on the concept
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






* Bill would require state jobs be located in San.....
* Dem governor candidates to have 1st televised f.....
* Democratic governor candidates to have 1st tele.....
* Report: Illinois spent $2 billion lawmakers nev.....
* Ives vows cost-cutting—but says income tax hike.....

* Police: Man who shot at motorist was angry about truck crash
* Retrial to begin in 1995 arson, murder case
* Popular Lincoln sculpture in Bloomington needs cleaning
* Bill would require state jobs be located in Sangamon County
* Legionella bacteria possibly at Illinois Capitol Complex
* Legionella bacteria possibly at Illinois Capitol Complex
* Board approves plan to create Will County's 1st solar farm
* Democratic governor candidates to have 1st televised forum
* William Cousins, prominent in Illinois law, dead at 90
* Officer who killed 2 charged with misdemeanors for bar fight

* Popular Lincoln sculpture in Bloomington needs cleaning
* Legionella bacteria possibly in Capitol Complex water system
* Rauner wants to 'step-down' income tax increase
* Sangamon County should get first dibs on state jobs, lawmaker says
* Report: State agencies holding nearly $2.5 billion in bills
* Illinois lawmakers hold hearing on marijuana legalization
* Illinois hunters harvest 2 percent more deer than last year
* New session will bring new efforts at pension reform
* New report shows state agencies holding nearly $2.5 billion in bills
* Rauner order bars lawmakers from property-tax appeals

* Chicago Stock Exchange bidders may seek extension
* Naf Naf to debut new stores, franchise program
* Test
* State insurance chief gets new national slot
* Raoul, Biss, Garcia land significant endorsements

* Do e-cigarettes help or harm? Report says not clear yet
* 1 dead, suspect held in Kentucky school shooting
* Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic calls Rajon Rondo his ‘best teammate ever’
* Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy closes campus because of flu outbreak
* Kobe Bryant, Greta Gerwig: Some fun facts about the 2018 Oscar nominations
* Chicago After Dark: 9 shot Monday, fatal Evanston fire | Jan. 23, 2018
* Americans killed, injured in attack on Kabul hotel: official
* Firefighters put out penthouse fire at Lincoln Park high-rise
* People think Lovie Smith looks like Uncle Drew
* AG Sessions interviewed last week in special counsel’s Russia probe

* Police: 1 dead, suspect held in Kentucky school shooting
* 'The Shape of Water' leads Oscar nominees with 13 nods
* Jeff Sessions interviewed by Mueller team in Russia investigation
* 3 Norge Ski Club members make U.S. Olympic ski jump team: coach
* Two of four suspects in custody after Elmhurst College carjacking: police
* Alaska hit by 7.9 earthquake; tsunami warning canceled
* Museums cost too much? Chicago Museum Week offers bargains but no blockbusters
* A guitar made from a shovel? Musician's instrumental oddities coming to Orland Park
* Donald Trump has never been a great dealmaker
* Joe Walsh — who promises to vote for Chuy Garcia if he's proved wrong — is proved wrong

» State Pays $1 Billion In Late-Payment Charges
» CHA To Add More Mixed-Income Housing In Bronzeville
» National Study Hammers Illinois Budget Practices
» Hundreds Of Thousands Gathered For Women's March In Chicago
» Women's March Chicago Stays on Message - Get to the Polls
» Chicago Schools Chief: Cost A Driver In Special Ed Overhaul
» One Year Later, Women’s March Demands More Than Attendance
» State Week: Education Funding, Pritzker-Blagojevich, Rauner-Duke
» Sheriff Offers To Help Review Police Shootings In Suburban Cook County
» A Prescription For Fruits And Veggies: One Solution To Food Insecurity in Illinois

* Popular Lincoln sculpture in Bloomington needs cleaning
* Legionella bacteria possibly in Capitol Complex water system
* IBHE: There is a need for bold changes for Illinois' higher education system
* Rauner wants to 'step-down' income tax increase
* Sangamon County should get first dibs on state jobs, lawmaker says
* Report: State agencies holding nearly $2.5 billion in bills
* Illinois lawmakers hold hearing on marijuana legalization
* Illinois hunters harvest 2 percent more deer than last year
* New session will bring new efforts at pension reform
* New report shows state agencies holding nearly $2.5 billion in bills

* Traffic snarls during Interstate 255 crash
* Accident slows I-255 southbound traffic
* Hear what candidates vying for a state senate seat have to say
* Yoakam set to play Virginia
* Man drove stolen RV through Southern Illinois during chase, police say
* Figge to exhibit works of French Moderns
* Latest Macon County restaurant inspection scores, Jan. 11 to 18
* A mild late-January pattern ahead
* Truck driver suffers serious injuries in 180th crash in the area this year, police say
* Central A&M rallies around 3 students hurt in ATV accident

* Burnley ties Dyche to new deal, signs Lennon on loan
* Palestinian cellphone company launches 3G, after Israeli ban
* Canada's Trudeau says countries remaining in Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to new trade deal after US withdrawal
* Lawsuit: Dundee Twp. park president took millions from late aunt, cousin over decades
* AP source: Cavs' meeting centered on overall frustration

* Letters to the editor: Election commission...
* Teacher raised in Yorkville running agains...
* Suburban Democrats line up to challenge Ro...
* Dissident artist Ai Weiwei and US Rep. Ran...
* Lawmakers back renaming Warrenville post o...
* Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and...
* This RSS feed URL is deprecated
* Bipartisan Illinois criticism follows Trum...
* Letter: Talk to tax preparer about GOP tax...
* Our view: End patronage at Algonquin Towns...

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...
* WH Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley: Gr......
* Shutdown Proved Democrats Lack Moral Compa......
* Dick Durbin's not the only Illinois Senato......

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...
* Dick Durbin's not the only Illinois Senato......

* Documentary on violence in Roseland
* Martin D. Reggi fundraiser set for January 25
* Moore withdraws from countywide McGinnis race
* In 1924 Maxwell Street regular Daddy Stovepipe became one of the first bluesmen ever recorded
* It's snowy owl season, motherfuckers
* Judge Elizabeth A. Karkula removed from the ballot
* 9,000 teachers are among those that face deportation without DACA.
* Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer. Worst. Negotiator. Ever.
* January 25 fundraiser for Judge John A. O'Meara
* Celebrate New Orleans Style Mardi Gras In Uptown

* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

* Apple reportedly shipped 29 million iPhone X units in Q4 2017, ‘slightly below expectations’
* DJI Announces Mavic Air Drone to Combine 'Best Features' of Mavic Series With Portability of Spark
* Samsung details new camera tech that we’ll likely see in the Galaxy S9
* Apple Details HomePod's Gesture Controls for Siri and Music Playback
* Android 8.1’s new speed labels rate public WiFi networks before you connect
* Snapchat to Start Letting Users Share Discover Stories Outside of App, Personal Stories Remain in App Only
* New report backs up Galaxy S9 announcement date, rejects Huawei P20 MWC possibility

* Burger third among top third-base prospects
* Burger among MLB's Top 10 3B prospects
* Kopech, Jimenez among White Sox NRIs
* Baseball America top 100, Sox-Brewers rumors, and other reading
* Advocating for retired non-numbers
* Getting ready for Soxfest 2018
* White Sox seeking new flagship radio home

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller