DCFS

DCFS

The head of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is defending the decision to leave a toddler in a Joliet Township house where she was later found dead. George Sheldon answered questions about the incident at a State Senate hearing Wednesday in Springfield.

One-year-old Semaj Crosby was found dead under a couch last Thursday. Her mother had reported her missing a couple of days earlier. Just before that, the family had been visited by a caseworker from DCFS.

Illinois Near Top In Nation For Human Trafficking Cases

Jan 4, 2017
"streetlight" by Flickr User David McGregor / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois ranks fifth in the nation for cases of human trafficking.

Public education efforts are underway for National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services says it investigated 143 reports of trafficking last year, many of which were child victims. 

Trafficking can happen with labor, but sex trafficking is a large component; Rockford is one of the state’s largest hubs for sex trafficking. 

However, Veronica Resa, with DCFS, says incidents can occur just about anywhere.

DCFS

Illinois has created a network of emergency foster care homes.

    

Department of Children and Family Services Director George Sheldon says these homes are places youth in the state's care can be sent in lieu of emergency shelters.

Sheldon told a legislative panel Tuesday that there's currently capacity for 36 kids. His goal is to have room for 50.

"Frankly, this state had a series of emergency foster homes a decade or so ago. I don't know why that was abandoned. I think it's a much more appropriate facility," Sheldon said.

illinois.gov

A federal judge has approved an improvement plan for Illinois' child welfare agency that includes reforms for helping children with psychological, emotional and behavioral problems.

U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonso signed off on the overhaul on Wednesday. The roughly 60-page document is part of a longtime consent decree aimed at improving care. It follows an American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois lawsuit.

"Swings" By Flickr User halfrain / (CC X 2.0)

A record number of youth have been killed while in the care of Illinois' Department of Children and Family Services, many of them victims of Chicago's gang violence.

The Chicago Tribune reports 11 youths died during a two-year period that ended June 30, 2015.

A confidential Office of the Inspector General report obtained by the newspaper notes societal problems such as poverty played a role. It also identifies failures in the state system.

Many teens were placed for long periods in emergency shelters or in homes located in rival gang territories.

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