7:52 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Investigation Looks Into Illinois Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths

A new report from the watchdog of Illinois’ child welfare system is making public how many children have died from abuse or neglect. The report describes how 93 Illinois children died last year - from a variety of causes. WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times looked into each of those deaths.  They found at least 27 children died from abuse or neglect - even though the Department of Children and Family Services had had contact with the family before.

WBEZ’s Tony Arnold and the Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris Fusco have been combing through the report and looking into the circumstances of some of these deaths. They joined WBEZ's Lisa Labuz to talk about their reporting on this topic. Arnold began by saying what they found in the new Inspector General report on child deaths.

That number is down a little from previous years.

 The report comes as DCFS has been re-evaluating its own practices for tracking children who die from abuse or neglect.

WBEZ highlights an investigation in partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times into child deaths in Illinois
The agency recently found 11 children who died over the past five years who hadn’t been properly counted before. A small group of state senators held hearings into the rising number of child deaths caused by abuse or neglect. Among the suggestions they heard from contractors and DCFS officials: hire more bilingual case workers and allow children to be placed with non-relatives who are close with the family when children need to be removed.