* Northwest Herald…
A pair of former child welfare employees who had prior contact with slain Crystal Lake boy AJ Freund and his family were arrested Thursday on child endangerment charges.
McHenry County Board member and former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employees Carlos Acosta, 54, was arrested and charged with two felony counts of endangering the life of a child and one felony count of reckless conduct.
Also arrested was Acosta’s former supervisor, Andrew Polovin, 48, of Island Lake, on the same charges, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. […]
“We’ve definitely seen the work of DCFS in the number of cases that they’re referring to us [and] the quality of the work has improved,” [McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally] said.
Both bonded out last night.
* NBC 5…
Acosta was the child protection specialist assigned to check a December 2018 call from Crystal Lake police about a bruise on Freund’s right hip. The boy gave varying explanations for the injury, including that the family dog had done it during play. But records show he also told an emergency room doctor, “Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.”
Acosta said in December that he followed protocol in not going back to question the child about the bruise and that the child’s injuries didn’t meet the threshold to get a second opinion from a pediatric specialist.
Acosta previously said he’s emotionally torn but stands by his decisions.
“I don’t deny the fact that I was there four months before and that’s something that I’m going to have to live with forever,” Acosta told Shaw Media Illinois in an interview late last year. “And again, should have, could have, would have. Did I still follow the policy and weigh the evidence that I had at the time? Yes.”
(F)ormer DCFS Inspector General Meryl Paniak had recommended their termination for their handling of the December 2018 hotline investigation. The inspector general report, which focused on the agency’s handling of the December hotline investigation and an earlier one from March in which Acosta was not involved, found the employees “failed to see the totality” of the troubled history of AJ’s family and missed opportunities to intervene.
Acosta was carrying a caseload above what is allowed under a federal consent decree at the time of their contact with AJ’s family, a systemic problem that has long vexed DCFS and that child welfare advocates say puts vulnerable children at further risk, the Tribune has reported.