Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Yet another problem at DCFS
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
*** UPDATED x1 *** Yet another problem at DCFS

Monday, Oct 23, 2017

* Tribune

And then 44-pound Verna became part of a growing pattern of similar fatalities: She was one of 15 Illinois children to die of abuse or neglect from 2012 through last year in homes receiving “intact family services” from organizations hired by DCFS, a Tribune investigation found.

There was only one such child death under the intact family services program during the previous five years from 2007 through 2011, according to DCFS records released to the Tribune under the Freedom of Information Act.

The mission of intact family services, which roughly 2,700 children are receiving statewide, is to offer counseling, resources and oversight to keep families together, instead of putting children through another trauma by removing them from the home and placing them with strangers.

The spike in deaths began in 2012 after DCFS completely privatized the program, putting the care of families in the hands of nonprofit groups but doing little to evaluate the quality of their work, give them guidance and resources, or hold them accountable when children were hurt or put at risk, the Tribune found. […]

Illinois’ new child welfare director, Beverly “B.J.” Walker, said she was alarmed by the Tribune’s finding on the surge of child fatalities in intact family services cases as well as by a sharply critical report from the DCFS Inspector General on Verna’s death.

*** UPDATE ***  Ugh

Like a scene out of the fairy tales she loved, the little girl everyone called Princess was heard crying for help from her second-story window.

But unlike Rapunzel, no prince showed up to rescue 4-year-old Emily Rose Perrin, whose mother hallucinated about dark angels that told her to kill the child.

The state child protective agency with the power to take children from their parents didn’t save Emily either, despite receiving 10 reports of suspected abuse.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services now is calling Emily’s death a failure of the system and is making changes to stop it from happening again. […]

As a result of cases like Emily’s, Walker said DCFS has:

    ▪ Changed the numbering and case record search capabilities so investigators can get a better history of each family, including reports of abuse or neglect that at the time were found not to be credible.

    ▪ Created a report for supervisors on the 2,700 cases being monitored by DCFS that have new allegations of abuse or neglect.

    ▪ Come up with a plan to review cases with new reports at a higher management level in the agency to ensure the quality of the work.

    ▪ Come up with a plan to facilitate regular contact between the family’s caseworkers and investigators regarding additional needs.

    ▪ Come up with a plan to try to make sure investigators and caseworkers will visit the home together to make sure each understands the family situation and the scope of the new allegation.

The agency also will seek the help of police, school officials and mental health professionals, according to Skene, the assistant to the DCFS director.

Years and years of promises and we still get “failure of the system” excuses. Go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    Maybe Illinois should try raising enough revenue to pay for the services it is supposed to be providing.

  2. - 47th Ward - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    Yes, but how much tax payer money did privatizing the program save?

  3. - dbk - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    The Intercept had a good piece up about this issue last week, “Children are dying at alarming rates in foster care, and nobody is bothering to investigate.” (Oct. 18).

    One of the stories it drew upon (Mother Jones, “The Brief Life and Private Death of Alexandria Hill”) featured an Illinois case involving The Baby Fold (Bloomington).

    Some states don’t keep statistics about such deaths; in others, no autopsies are performed to determine COD.

    It’s privatization - when I read the Intercept piece, I was reminded of what’s happened to the prison system since much of it was privatized.

  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    During the campaign, Rauner claimed that Quinn wore the jacket for any DCFS failures. Guess that means he wears the jacket now. His first out-of-state superstar director seemed more interested in handing out contracts to his friends hiring a boytoy chauffeur. Things don’t loom promising for the new out-of-state superstar.

  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    BJ Walker is capable of improving the horrible mess that is DCFS. She has a mountain to climb, and that mountain sits upon 5 others. Good luck, BJ

  6. - Ghost - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:19 pm:

    Sounds like massively outdated IT system. Time to go from Mainframe to DOS.

  7. - Cassandra - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    Over the years (decades, really) I’ve noticed in the press that child welfare agencies often drop the ball in cases in which the parent in question has serious mental health issues. I suppose there is reluctance to remove children from a parent who is ill. I doubt the problem is limited to Illinois’ child welfare agency. Perhaps one answer is more oversight of these cases by mental health professionals. Caseworkers are not necessarily clinically certified.

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    Privatization is not done to reduce cost.

  9. - Fako Ruiner - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    That Madigan!

  10. - The young gov - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    As someone who has worked as a social worker and then in an executive branch state agency in a policy role, I do not think these tragic ongoing system failures are due to privatization. In fact, I would put money that the staff hired by the private non-profits are more effective (generally speaking, with someone exceptions of course). The way we hire (and the way we don’t fire) in most of the executive branch of state government (due to Rutan and the personnel code) and the extreme top down nature of how are IL state government works is a huge factor in these system failures. Think, stay in your lane, not doing anything until the boss tells you to, lack of clear communication from exec staff, some employees who do little while others do 200%, an impossible caseload size, etc. This Trib article needed to be written, but putting the burden for these tragedies on private non-profits is accurate. A strong middle management is a key part of the solution.

  11. - don the legend - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    Are we so jaded that we give the Governor a complete pass when it comes to his silence on the death of children. I would hope that he would want to be out front leading the charge that this type of tragedy will no longer go unrecognized. The best minds will be marshaled to implement a real and immediate response. Our State is better than this.

    This same rant applies to the homicide epidemic in Chicago.

    Where is the leadership?

  12. - Juvenal - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    === Created a report for supervisors on the 2,700 cases being monitored by DCFS that have new allegations of abuse or neglect ===

    Rich -

    I just want to plant a red flag, raise my arms in the air, and jump and shout on this revelation.

    According to the most recent data available — and BJ Walker hasn’t released any data since the end of July — there were only about 3800 intact family cases as of the end of June.

    If in fact there are 2,700 allegations of abuse involving 3,800 intact family cases, that is astounding. It seems like a report of the Intact family cases that aren’t a dumpster fire would be more helpful.

    Which raises the question: why haven’t the children been removed from the home?

  13. - RNUG - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    To the update:

    When in trouble or doubt, reorganize.

    Don’t see anything changing soon …

  14. - Juvenal - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    This quote from BJ Walker is also deeply troubling:


    Children should not be making the determination that it’s safe for them to remain in their parent’s care. They cannot make that assessment. It is bizarre that Walker would blame children for her department’s poor performance.

  15. - Silent Budgeteer - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    At times, the problem is the attitude of the caseworker.

    When Mrs. Budgeteer and I were foster parents, we had a young child from just after birth until he was 18 months old. We had been told we would be able to adopt him. Bear in mind, his biological mother had already lost custody of two children due to physical abuse.

    He would come back from visits with her (and her live-in boyfriend at the time) with bruises, torn clothing, and even roaches in his backpack. It was not unusual to pick him up from daycare and find his backpack on the porch, outside of the home. We would report everything to the caseworker, as did his daycare provider.

    Three weeks before Christmas, the caseworker and her manager picked him up from daycare; the manager had decided that it was time for him to “go back to his real mother”. He called me at work to tell me they had picked him up and taken him to his “mom”. After all, he told me, “she deserves another shot at him.” My family was devastated at the loss.

    Two years later, I ran into another caseworker who recognized me. She asked if we ever found out what had happened afterwards. Of course not, I replied. We were told we were no longer a party or had an interest.

    Her words to me? “We made a huge mistake. That’s all I can say.”

    Don’t tell me it’s all about the children.

  16. - Responsa - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    ==Children should not be making the determination that it’s safe for them to remain in their parent’s care.==

    I didn’t take it from Walker’s statement that the children are “making the determination”–only that their wants are being weighed and factored in. Unfortunately, there have been too many reports of children removed from their “intact” homes being as bad or worse off when they are put in foster care. Clearly young children may not be aware of, or fully understand the potential dangers they are in. But very few of them probably would not *think* they’d rather stay in a situation where they at least know their housemates and neighborhood instead of being removed (sometimes forcefully) to a completely new location where they may know no one.

  17. - Juvenal - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    === Unfortunately, there have been too many reports of children removed from their “intact” homes being as bad or worse off when they are put in foster care. ===

    Walker admits that 10% of Intact kids are being reported as re-abused.

    Only a fraction of a percent of children in foster care are the subject of an abuse report. Most all of those involve youth in institutions. And I agree, like Maryville, institutions ought to be shut down if they are failing to meet standards of watery and well-being. But you disparaging statement has no basis in reality and is no defense of intact families.

  18. - Cassandra - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    Not to be an apologist for the state child welfare system, but it is worth noting that Illinois citizens have made big efforts to improve child protection over the decades. The state has been under a federal child welfare consent decree and ACLU oversight off and on since the 80’s–mostly on. There is an inspector general dedicated to DCFS who has been churning out reports since the 90’s and reporting to the legislature annually. DCFS achieved national accreditation in the aughts and I presume still is accredited. Since the 90’s there has been a network of child death review teams around the state that reviews child deaths with prior state agency involvement and makes recommendations. These entities are all staffed by educated, dedicated staff and volunteers.

    These are tough problems. And the solutions seem equally tough to find.

  19. - Dan Johnson - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    Does any state do this well?

  20. - Responsa - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    == and is no defense of intact families.==

    Nor was it meant to be. The decisions DCFS must routinely make are hard and not necessarily obvious or made with foreseeable outcomes. There are caring and competent DCFS caseworkers and some which are not so good, and some who are horrible– all of which to some degree have been detailed in stories on this thread. There are many excellent foster care homes (as has been detailed on this thread) and some not so good foster situations as you yourself and others have pointed out.

  21. - RNUG - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    Don’t know if it is still the case today, but at one time the policy/ priority was keeping the family united, not the best welfare of the child.

  22. - Proud - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 3:53 pm:

    I have spent over 30 years in Child Welfare-both for DCFS and Private Agencies. This is not a Privatization issue per se. This is a lack of funding to the private partners. I challenge any of those casting stones to work one week in Child Welfare! Why do we applaud medical professionals for doing all they can to prevent cancer deaths but don’t blame them for cancer deaths. Those fighting our societal ills don’t get the same courtesy rather distain. That’s why the turnover that is referenced.

  23. - Perrid - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 4:26 pm:

    Proud, it is undoubtedly a tough job and there are rarely perfect solutions where everyone comes out happy. But your comparison to cancer is a little off base, it’s very hard to say a cancer patient died because of a choice that a doctor made. It’s not hard to say that if a child had been taken out of their home their mother would not have murdered them. There is a more direct responsibility for negative outcomes, and its certainly easier to see.

  24. - Proud - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 4:35 pm:

    Perrid 4:26

    I get your logic, but what is the right decision? I lost my crystal ball. Because Child Welfare workers cant see into the future then we should blanketly take every child away that we come into contact with where there are issues? If you have the exact criteria for how someone call tell if a parent will re-offend I am all ears!

TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Rauner vetoes Jack Franks bill
* Question of the day
* Rauner, others respond to Trump
* *** UPDATED x3 - Wallace faults Pritzker - Pritzker criticizes Kennedy - GOP Rep. Skillicorn favors legalization *** Pritzker reiterates support for legalized marijuana
* DGA commemorates Rauner's three-year inauguration anniversary
* Rauner administration looking at Medicaid work requirements
* AFSCME files Janus brief
* *** UPDATED x1 *** ISBE warns Rauner veto could cause "disruption and confusion for all 852 school districts"
* AG race is getting bitter in a hurry
* Unclear on the concept
* Rate the new Rauner digital ad
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






* Illinois Governor Sleeps At Vets' Home With Que.....
* Illinois Governor Sleeps At Vets Home With Ques.....
* Local government bodies update harassment polic.....

* Macon County deputies will soon be taking work vehicles home
* Illinois program helps rural students access AP classes
* Chefs in training serve up food for police recruits
* VA holding health care town hall Wednesday in Vincennes
* Police warn residents of thieves posing as city workers
* Chicago area sees as much as 5 inches of snow
* Prosecutors going after drug dealers amid opioid epidemic
* Passenger with measles flew through Chicago's O'Hare
* Illinois zoo holds contest to name baby giraffe
* Rising Great Lakes water levels keep Michigan companies busy

* Democrat Kennedy calls Republican Ives' gun crime solution ignorant and stupid
* Trump says his words on immigration were misrepresented by 'Senator Dicky Durbin'
* How Illinois governor candidates would address gun violence
* Kennedy targets gun violence in Illinois governor campaign
* State warns of potential measles exposure at O'Hare
* Gambling expansion in Illinois no sure bet
* Democrats try to stand out in attorney general primary
* Candidate for Illinois attorney general robbed at gunpoint in Chicago
* Illinois AG says girl can use medical marijuana at school
* ISBE: Schools face 'disruption and confusion' after Rauner veto

* How important is job flexibility? Our survey wants to know.
* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* Email phishing hack puts Guaranteed Rate clients, staffers at risk
* Supreme Court to review bid to collect internet sales tax
* Legal weed in Illinois? Imagine the possibilities.

* Man, woman wounded in South Side shooting
* 23-year-old man shot while walking in University Village
* Dear Abby: Husband’s long beard dangles in his food
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Jan. 16, 2018
* Pair charged with string of residential burglaries in Riverside
* Marquette coasts past cold-shooting DePaul in Big East play
* Illini fall to Cornhuskers on last-second three-pointer, stay winless in Big Ten
* California teen leads deputies to parents’ house of horrors
* Snow showers, sub-zero windchill expected to continue into Tuesday
* Olympic gymnastics champ Simone Biles says she was abused by doctor

* 8 injured in city shootings
* McDonald's to recycle packaging in all locations globally by 2025
* Former Illini star Kendrick Nunn, now at Oakland: 'I've grown a lot. I'm wiser.'
* Olympic champ Simone Biles says she was abused by Larry Nassar
* Hidden GPS tracker leads to arrest in Lakeview East bank robbery
* On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump mentioned as much as civil rights leader
* Nebraska beats Illinois 64-63 on James Palmer's last-second 3-pointer
* Chances of shutdown grow as GOP seeks short-term spending deal for government
* Police rescue 13 siblings found shackled in California home; parents charged with torture
* Parents arrested after 13 children found shackled and malnourished in California home

» A Poor Neighborhood In Chicago Looks To Cuba To Fight Infant Mortality
» Democratic Candidates In Lockstep At Justice Forum
» Dem Candidates In Lockstep At Justice Forum
» Chicago Sees Record Number Of Visitors In 2017
» Art Exhibit Delves Into Chicago Police Brutality
» Chicago Schools Chief Pledges Major Changes To Special Education
» Chicago’s Police Reform Is A ‘Long-Term Project’
» Chicago Needs ‘Substantive, Foundational Change’ To Police Department
» State Week: Quincy Vets' Home, Rauner Dives Into Dem Primary, AG Field Stays Crowded
» Young Activists Of Color Say Chicago Police Reform Efforts Fall Short

* Democrat Kennedy calls Republican Ives' gun crime solution ignorant and stupid
* Trump says his words on immigration were misrepresented by 'Senator Dicky Durbin'
* Our View: Aldermen should approve TIF request for Booth-Ferguson project
* Todd Maisch: Illinois Chamber of Commerce supports pragmatic change to environmental regulations
* George Will: In Oregon, progressivism spills over at the pump
* How Illinois governor candidates would address gun violence
* Kennedy targets gun violence in Illinois governor campaign
* State warns of potential measles exposure at O'Hare
* Gambling expansion in Illinois no sure bet
* Our View: Trump’s divisive comments have no place in America

* Disappointment, hope expressed at King events
* Some area schools are delaying the start of classes today because of the weather
* Area Calendar 1/16/18
* Edward John Staszak
* Clara Ruth (Sills) Tripp
* Roberta Lynn Eldridge
* Dorothy May Price
* Peggy J. 'Barnes' Dossett
* Kenneth A. Stroud
* Blanche Katherine Casey

* Dawn Patrol: Roskam welcomes the immigrants whose countries Trump disparaged
* Oladipo scores 28, hot-shooting Pacers beat Jazz 109-94
* Palatine splits a pair at Lake Zurich
* Tavares' 2nd goal lifts Islanders past Canadiens 5-4 in OT
* Carmel hangs on, edges out Addison Trail

* Congressman Randy Hultgren Disagrees with ...
* Bipartisan Illinois criticism follows Trum...
* Our view: End patronage at Algonquin Towns...
* Rep. Hultgren: It is Not Safe for Salvador...
* Letters to the editor: Election commission...
* US places Pakistan on special watch list f...
* Hultgren makes strong mark on nation's new...
* Hultgren behind effort to expand energy re...
* Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and...
* Dissident artist Ai Weiwei and US Rep. Ran...

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...
* Trump's point is well-taken; the rest is D......
* Stephen Colbert wryly notes that Trump fav......

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...

* The Myth Of A Litigious Society
* Durbin challenges Trump to prove he's not racist with a compromise on the ‘Dreamers,’ and other Chicago news
* Chicagoetry: Sick
* Donald Trump And The Rhetoric Of Dictators
* “Shithole countries” controversy shows how we don’t agree on what is truth
* Towkio Visits Lawrence House For Newest Video
* CAPS Meeting For Beat 1912 Is Tuesday At Sulzer Library
* Shooting at 90th & Ellis
* Does Defense Actually Win Championships?
* Reeder: Illinois' population shrinks, thanks to taxes and regulations

* 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

* Samsung Galaxy S9 release schedule revealed, pre-orders to start as early as March 1
* YouTube Currently Testing New Dark Mode for Mobile iOS App
* Apple asked to respond to China consumer group about slowing older iPhones
* No Android Oreo update for Honor 8 after all, Honor 8 Pro goodie pack is ‘under testing’
* Chinese Consumer Group Demands Answers From Apple Over Older iPhone Slowdowns
* Sprint, Verizon, EE, TIM, China Telecom to support Snapdragon PCs
* 4 western banks floating Xiaomi IPO, Chinese banks still yet to get a piece

* Kopech close to joining White Sox rotation
* Young White Sox hitters gather for mini-camp
* Birmingham Barons unveil special MLK uniform
* Service and the Sox
* Charting a course to a winning White Sox team
* The White Sox Rebuild Depth Chart
* Jose Abreu avoids arbitration, Avisail Garcia holds out

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