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DCFS contract caseworker under investigation

Friday, Mar 22, 2019

* This makes my blood boil

Last weekend, a caseworker visited Brittany Hyc to make sure her two small boys were doing all right in a home where there had been repeated allegations of abuse and neglect.

The worker, on contract with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, reported back that 2-year-old Ja’hir Gibbons and his 5-year-old brother were both safe, according to the agency.

Two days later, Ja’hir was brutally beaten to death. The following day, the worker filed another report saying only the older brother was at the Chicago home at the time of the visit and that the worker never saw the 2-year-old at all, the agency disclosed late Thursday.

The caseworker has been barred from having any contact with children or families the agency serves as the conflicting reports are investigated.

“Falsifying records will not be tolerated,” DCFS Interim Director Debra Dyer-Webster said in a statement. “DCFS will pursue all available discipline, including termination, if records were falsified.” [Emphasis added.]

* CBS 2

“The victim’s abdomen, torso and arms were covered in new and old bruises,” said Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy. “The victim’s face was covered with bruises and abrasions. The victim also had bruising on his forehead, hindquarters, and legs. ” […]

“He got mad at the victim and struck him multiple times with his hands and a rolled up shirt,” Murphy said. “Defendant Waters said that after striking the victim, the victim began foaming at the mouth.” […]

“There are certainly a lot of red flags in this case,” said Charles Golbert, the acting Cook County Public Guardian. “They were not doing a very thorough or aggressive job.”

* Sun-Times

The toddler’s body was covered with new and old bruises when he was brought to Comer Children’s Hospital on Monday, according to authorities. […]

An autopsy found Ja’hir had rib fractures that were at various stages of healing and a new wrist fracture, Murphy said. Ja’hir had also suffered lacerations to his liver and a contusion to the lung. To suffer those injuries, the boy would have been subjected to “significant blunt force trauma,” Murphy added. […]

DCFS has been involved with the family since 2010 due to allegations of neglect and abuse of Ja’hir siblings, according to agency spokesman Jimmie Whitelow. Prosecutors said DCFS was most recently in contact with the family following an incident in August.

Hyc had taken Ja’hir to a doctor for a possible bite mark to his abdomen and doctors found additional bruising on the boy, which Hyc blamed on the boy’s daycare facility. In October, a DCFS worker went to the home and heard what they believed was Waters striking the boy. The worker called the Child Abuse Hotline and another agency employee was assigned to follow up, prosecutors said.

Police were called to the home in February after a neighbor reported a possible domestic disturbance. Hyc told officers at that time that everything was fine, but the same neighbor later noticed Ja’hir walking with a limp, prosecutors said. [Emphasis added.]

Um, why does a DCFS worker have to call a child abuse hotline?

* Related…

* On Camera: Governor responds to DCFS deaths: “Governor, kids are dying in DCFS care. What are you doing to stop it, governor? Governor, kids are dying in DCFS care, what are you going to do to stop that governor,” Reporter Ana Espinosa asked. “We have to work hard to not only change the leadership at DCFS but also to focus on the safety and security of these children. That’s our job in the state government,” Governor Pritzker said. “What are 126 caseworkers going to do?” Espinosa asked. “We have to go,” said Governor Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh. “It is just the beginning. It’s absolutely just a beginning,” Governor Pritzker said. “Can you promise me there is going to be change for these children?” Espinosa asked.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

10 Comments
  1. - RNUG - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    == Um, why does a DCFS worker have to call a child abuse hotline? ==

    Probably because they were a contractor as opposed to an employee.


  2. - A Jack - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    I think the worker probably should have been calling the police, not the hot line. The hot line is for indications of abuse. Actually hearing a child being beaten goes beyond a sign of abuse.


  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    === Um, why does a DCFS worker have to call a child abuse hotline? ===

    It’s a centralized registry. You make a report, all the reports are in one place and tracked.

    What we have not found out yet is whether the most recent allegations were substantiated and why And who made the decision to leave the children in the home.


  4. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    Good reporting and holding Gov’s feet to the fire.
    This is one of many issues with taking so long to fill your staff and team.
    It’s been almost 4 months since the election. It’s been almost 2 years since Semaj Crosby was found under a couch in Joliet. This was a known issue during the campaign and a known issue after winning.
    I really hope one of those big money superstars has a better response and an action plan by end of weekend.
    Just saying Fair Tax, is not a solution or blueprint for everything in the State.


  5. - Wylie Coyote - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    Sounds like Jordan needs a little tutoring in gubernatorial crisis management. You’d better let your boss answer the question and don’t try to run away from the media. Or better yet, don’t let him wander around the rotunda of the Capitol if he is not prepared to make a statement on such a hot topic…..


  6. - Perrid - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    “Um, why does a DCFS worker have to call a child abuse hotline?”

    Because not every worker is empowered to take custody of children on their own authority?

    I’d second the comment that they probably should have called the cops if they thought the kid was being abused right that second.


  7. - Honeybear - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 1:42 pm:

    We just have to do better.
    Wow….I hate reading this stuff.
    I hate feeling ashamed.


  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===Good reporting===

    “Can you promise me” is not good reporting. It’s barely even tabloid reporting.


  9. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    DCFS needs a Director who can serve for 8 years. It takes a long perspective to turn the agency.


  10. - Wondering Wendy - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    SAme thing happens in CILAS (small group homes for the disabled). Abuse/neglect….people living with cockroaches and rat feces, and after the 3 year inspection the state doesn’t return to see if anything was done. When the Auditor General asked why the workers response was, “We are on the honor system so we assumed they would correct this”. Yes, some of these workers are underpaid, but this does not allow the most vulnerable….disabled or children to be left in homes where they are abused/neglected. The Auditor General’s report states all the facts………..time to DO SOMETHING. Lip service is easy.


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