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DCFS still woefully short-staffed

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* WGN

A mother charged in the fatal stabbing of her 5-year-old daughter was denied bond Monday.

Simone Austin, 27, is charged with with first-degree murder in the death of Serenity Arrington. […]

Police also said they are familiar with the home.

“There were prior calls to the address. We just don’t know at this time why what happened today. But there were multiple calls,” said Chicago Police Officer Jose Jara.

DCFS confirmed to WGN they have had prior contact with the family, but did not give specific dates.

* CBS 2

Meanwhile, reporters were told Monday afternoon that 500 DCFS frontline workers – caseworkers and investigators – have been hired in the last year and half since the governor’s announcement. But that number is offset somewhat by retirements.

* DeKalb Daily Chronicle

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has reached a “crisis point” at some of its offices in terms of staffing shortages partially related to COVID-19 concerns, the union representing DCFS workers said in an email to its membership.

The email, sent last week from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, addressed concerns regarding caseloads in understaffed offices throughout the state.

AFSCME, which represents Illinois’ DCFS employees, warned DCFS workers that the department had 500 vacant positions and plans to reassign employees to assist with remote investigations in understaffed areas. […]

By the end of August, DCFS had 2,726 of its 3,056 budgeted positions filled, department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said. By the department’s count, that’s 330 vacant positions, or a little more than 10%, about the start of September. That includes all staff, not only case investigators.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - Former DCFS - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    Now factor in how many 3rd party agencies they rely on for foster placement casework services, and see how the finances and hiring practices of those agencies are doing as well. I promise you those are probably low as well.


  2. - Fighter of Foo - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 10:56 am:

    What is scary, are the cases that don’t make the news.


  3. - Good Soup - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 11:32 am:

    Like most state enforcement agencies DCFS needs an overhaul, starting at the top with evaluating priorities and concluding with employee training and oversight. The entire state is riddled with incompetence / lack of oversight and reinforced by useless unions who protect the do-nothings and skim their budgets. Holding people accountable is one way to skin the cat. What about holding their supervisors accountable?


  4. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 11:43 am:

    Here’s how calls to the mandated reporting line goes:

    Mandated Reporter doesn’t get an answer, is prompted to request a call back.

    Call back comes in the middle of the day, can’t immediately answer or address the call.

    Zero follow up.

    If we want a decent DCFS, we have to pay for a decent DCFS and we haven’t put that budget in place.


  5. - DuPage - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    Tier 2 pensions don’t help things. Good applicants for DCFS might think twice about working for the state long term, or working for the state at all.


  6. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    How are they supposed to hire a bunch of people when they are trying t mi determine ways to cut the budget?


  7. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    Meant trying to determine. Need a spellcheck and an edit function.


  8. - thisjustinagain - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    Blaming the unions for the failures of politicians and top leadership is an insult to the front-line workers trying to do the impossible with nothing. Front-line supervisors can’t conjure up more people or hours in the day, no matter how anti-union sheep bleat about it. And some wonder why the best people refuse to even apply for State jobs??


  9. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    DCFS investigator positions do not qualify for federal matching funds. Budget cuts hit them with full force.

    Investigators are hard to manage and discipline. They operate in the field with no direct observation. It is hard to identify poor performance. Even harder to document it.

    My experience is that most DCFS workers do good work. Many would do better if they knew how. Some are not up to the task.


  10. - AndJusticeForAll - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:38 pm:

    Illinois doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. Why don’t they ever make cuts.


  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    ===Why don’t they ever make cuts===

    lol

    Did you just fall off a turnip truck?


  12. - Frank talks - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:55 pm:

    Who wants that job? The stress alone from what you see has to be hard. Then add in an inability to actually accomplish all your casework because the Department is so understaffed. Just doesn’t seem like a good environment.


  13. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    ===- AndJusticeForAll - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:38 pm:===

    Ignoring how you said it, and pretending that you’re legitimately interested in the welfare of our children in the State of Illinois, a fiscally conservative approach to the agency would involve hiring more investigators. At the moment due to staffing issues every DCFS investigator I know is currently mandated to a lot of overtime hours.

    A lot.

    But to fix these major problems the public is going to have to invest in our public agencies. Folks like to use the analogy of trimming the fat — well, if you trim too much fat you wind up with a dry and awful cut of meat. Too little fat in a burger, and it falls apart on the grill and you have to cover it in ketchup to make it palatable.

    There’s a balance, and pretending like we can get to “good governance” or “good services” by cutting spending is ridiculous. When was the last time you discovered that spending less on something consistently resulted in a higher quality product?

    We can’t outsource DCFS investigators to Central Asia.


  14. - don the legend - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    Why don’t they ever make cuts.==

    Really. If we taxed ignorance, you’d be broke and “they” might be able to hire one more investigator or better train one.


  15. - truth - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 8:05 pm:

    You know the truth. And so do I. DCFS lies


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