Lawmakers Hear Testimony On Child Neglect Deaths

Jan 14, 2014

Illinois lawmakers say they’re wrapping up hearings into the state’s troubled child welfare agency.

On Monday, state senators heard from numerous child welfare advocates, attorneys, and even DCFS employees about problems the department faces. 

Credit state of Illinois

Some of the issues raised got into basic responsibilities - like keeping track of data.

Layla Suleiman-Gonzalez is with the Illinois Latino Family Commission.

She says the department’s data show the number of Latino children taken into state care hasn’t changed in 20 years - even as the number of Latinos in Illinois has grown.

"Clearly the placement figure is suspect and this is due largely to data collection failures," Suleiman-Gonzalez said.

Last month - DCFS officials released new numbers showing how many children have been killed in Illinois through abuse or neglect.

The new numbers showed the department didn’t count 11 children over five years.

That followed a series of stories by WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times that looked into how many children died - even after the state had investigated the family.