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Not exactly employee of the year

Monday, Jun 24, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney

The last child welfare investigator who made contact with Andrew “AJ” Freund before the young Crystal Lake boy was allegedly killed by his parents is a local elected official with a history of workplace complaints and a recent suspension, according to documents reviewed by the Tribune.

In one case, the investigator was disciplined for ignoring a court order to connect a family with support services, delaying help for four children in a home with a record of domestic violence and alcohol abuse, the documents show. Separately, prosecutors wrote a letter saying he failed to alert them about a mother’s heroin use and that he refused to hold a child because he was worried about bedbugs.

The investigator, 53-year-old Carlos Acosta, serves on the McHenry County Board — first elected in November following a campaign that highlighted his decades of experience in social services.

Acosta, who represents Woodstock and several other communities, did not return multiple calls seeking comment. A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said Acosta was not authorized to discuss agency matters. The department declined to comment further.

Board Chairman Jack Franks said in an interview that Acosta is a “model board member” who works hard and is always prepared. Issues under review at the state agency do not affect Acosta’s status on the board, Franks said.

This story is infuriating on so many levels. Read it all if you have the stomach for it.

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11 Comments
  1. - PublicServant - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    Seems to me both Acosta and Franks need to go. Sooner rather than later.


  2. - btowntruthfromforgottonia - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    He is the definition of “Here to get my check and that’s it.”


  3. - Kyle Hillman - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    “Acosta’s caseload was significantly higher than limits established by a longstanding federal consent decree when he was probing AJ’s family, officials have said.”

    There is a lot to dislike about the AJ case and this caseworker but our state’s role in creating a work environment where corners need to be cut to do the job needs to be addressed.


  4. - Not a Superstar - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    This is troubling, but keep in mind we are only hearing one side of the story. Moreover, the Trib is trying to blame everything on an individual investigator. People should read the Northwest Herald’s more comprehensive coverage of the collective failures:

    https://www.nwherald.com/2019/06/06/did-dcfs-investigator-make-the-right-choice-with-aj/arfzn71/ and

    https://www.nwherald.com/2019/05/30/dcfs-investigator-shares-details-of-december-visit-to-aj-freunds-home/amuo7w1/


  5. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    It’s people like Acosta who give state workers a bad rap.


  6. - Demoralized - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    == Issues under review at the state agency do not affect Acosta’s status on the board, Franks said.==

    Yes, because those issues don’t say anything about his character. Sheesh.


  7. - Foster Kid Lobbyist - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    Acosta made one of the children “walk across the parking lot in her socks,”. Seems like a great guy to have working with abused and neglected kids. I bet AFSCME Council 31 is super proud to have him on board.


  8. - Juvenal - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    === the Trib is trying to blame everything on an individual investigator. ===

    See where it says the Tribune reviewed disciplinary records? My bet is that it is the department that would like to blame the whole case on an individual caseworker.

    Unless you think Acosta is the one sharing his personnel file with the Tribune?


  9. - Anon E Moose - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    https://www.mchenrycountyil.gov/county-government/departments-a-i/county-board/meet-your-county-board-members/carlos-acosta


  10. - Not a Superstar - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    == My bet is that it is the department ==

    Juvenal, thank you. I should have said “DCFS, aided and abetted by the Trib….”


  11. - nobody special - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    Sounds like DCFS gave out info upon request..

    “….according to his personnel file, which the Tribune obtained in a public records request. He returned to DCFS in 2010, records show,….”


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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