DCFS

aclu-il.org

An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union says he’s hopeful Illinois’ troubled child welfare system will make some big changes.

The ACLU’s Ben Wolf is at the center of an ongoing class action lawsuit over how the Department of Children and Family Services treats kids in its care.

“For children with behavioral and psychological challenges, there just aren’t the services they need, and the result of that is they’re left languishing in correctional centers and shelters and all sorts of places that just aren’t the right place to spend your childhood,” Wolf said.

DCFS: 'We Have Stepped Up Our Game' On Runaway Kids

Jul 30, 2015
DCFS

Illinois’s child welfare agency says it’s doing a better job of tracking youth who run away.

That’s after an audit showed the Department of Children and Family Services was failing to keep tabs on those young people.

George Sheldon, the head of the agency, says runaways tend to be teenagers who have low self-esteem with few relatives to turn to - and sometimes are victims of human trafficking.

“These are the perfect victims,” Sheldon said. “So I think we have stepped up our game.”

aclu-il.org

Illinois’s Department of Children and Family Services is telling contractors to be ready to make cuts if political leaders ever agree on a spending plan.

A federal judge told DCFS to provide the same level of services as it had in June, until the governor and legislators approve a budget.

But DCFS is pre-emptively telling its contractors to also get ready for 10 percent cuts - though there is no budget guiding that.

Ben Wolf is with the American Civil Liberties Union and has sued DCFS over its quality of care before.

New DCFS Director Struggling To Defend Cuts

Mar 18, 2015
DCFS

The new director of Illinois’ child welfare system is having a hard time defending Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts.

Democratic state senators are pushing the head of the Department of Children and Family Services to account for more than $100 million in cuts. Under Rauner’s proposal, 18-year-olds would be cut out of state services.

DCFS

Last month, a WBEZ investigation found that the Department of Children and Family Services routinely leaves kids in jail for weeks, even months, after a judge says they should go home.

That’s after a recent Chicago Tribune series found the residential centers the state sends some kids to are unsafe and poorly monitored.

Ben Wolf with the American Civil Liberties Union says the root of both of those problems is a lack of mental health services for kids with special needs.

Could DCFS Child Abuse Deaths Move Rauner's Budget?

Feb 17, 2015
WBEZ

The number of Illinois children dying from abuse and neglect remains high even after the state’s child welfare agency had been involved with the child’s family, according to a new analysis from WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times. It comes as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vowed to “transform” the state’s long-troubled Department of Children and Family Services.

DCFS Gets New Interim Director

Jan 19, 2015
DCFS

The state agency charged with protecting vulnerable children gets a new interim director today. 

Governor Bruce Rauner is still searching for a permanent director of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services. 

Cynthia Tate takes over DCFS today on an interim basis while a search for a permanent director continues. She replaces Bobbie Gregg - who hadn’t even been on the job for a year.

Gregg was the latest in a string of directors for the troubled agency - which has been criticized for neglecting youth in its care. 

Ward Of State Charged With Murder

Sep 24, 2014
willcountyillinois.com

A Joliet woman is scheduled to appear in a Will County courtroom Wednesday for the murder of her roommate.

It is believed to be the first time since 2009 that a ward of the State of Illinois has been arrested for murder.

Sources say Kadiedra Speed was adopted by parents who ended up abusing her.

And she spent time in psychiatric hospitals.

Court records show she got in several fights in her teens.

And lived in four homes in five years. Most recently, in Joliet.

New DCFS Director Outlines Priorities

May 5, 2014
state of Illinois

The new director of Illinois’ child welfare agency wants a better system for tracking children who die from abuse or neglect.

Bobbie Gregg’s listing her priorities as the new director of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services.

She talked to WBEZ and to the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board about children who died from abuse or neglect - even after DCFS investigated the families.

The two news organizations partnered last year - and found deaths like those were on the rise.

The Department of Children and Family Services is sounding warnings it will cut services that keep kids from having to go into foster care as a consequence of an $85 million budget cut.

Gov. Pat Quinn says he's unhappy with the cuts, and hinted that he'll do something to try to prevent them when he acts on the budget later this month.