Pritzker orders Illinois DCFS review, nominates new director

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday ordered an independent review of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and nominated a new director after the recent deaths of toddlers who were under the child welfare agency’s care.

Posted: Mar 28, 2019 12:41 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday ordered an independent review of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and nominated a new director after the recent deaths of toddlers who were under the child welfare agency’s care.

Pritzker nominated Marc D. Smith to head the department. Smith is an executive vice president at Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness, one of the state’s largest service providers to those in crisis. He has also been a social worker and was a public service administrator with DCFS. Smith’s nomination is pending confirmation of the Illinois Senate.

The governor said he has asked the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall policy research center to conduct a comprehensive review of how the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ Intact Family Services Unit functions. He also has requested “actionable recommendations” in the next six weeks on “improving children’s safety and the quality of the services the agency is providing.”

After those initial recommendations the center will provide a more comprehensive review of the unit.

“The most vulnerable people in Illinois are the children served by DCFS, and we must provide them the best services that our state can offer, which means assessing and implementing the recommendations of child welfare experts,” Pritzker said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Illinois lawmakers criticized the agency’s performance during a state Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported. An Office of the Inspector General’s report found 98 children involved with DCFS have died in the last two years.

“I do not believe anymore that this agency can function as it is currently legislatively comprised,” said state Sen. Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet.

The moves come after authorities said the mother of a 2-year-old Decatur girl pleaded not guilty last month to first-degree murder charges after the girl died from starvation and deprivation. The child was taken from her mother in 2018 during a DCFS child abuse investigation and placed in foster care. She was returned to her mother in August.

In Chicago, an autopsy this month found a 2-year-old boy had bruises and old rib fractures but records show DCFS workers never reported injuries despite numerous visits. Pritzker said that “gross mistakes” were made.

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Cases: 1582392

Reported Deaths: 26884
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook60726610902
DuPage1026891351
Will862101080
Lake761221053
Kane65145838
Winnebago38503541
Madison37519564
St. Clair34621558
McHenry32619311
Peoria25609359
Champaign25478182
Sangamon24108264
McLean21470203
Tazewell19477326
Rock Island17502342
Kankakee16409232
Kendall15177104
LaSalle14258273
Macon14134230
Vermilion12805180
Adams12525147
DeKalb11460126
Williamson11116152
Whiteside7759176
Boone753381
Jackson748379
Coles7121109
Ogle699985
Grundy690481
Clinton673597
Franklin658994
Knox6439163
Marion6392135
Macoupin629997
Henry604172
Jefferson5933130
Effingham580980
Livingston560294
Woodford548291
Stephenson534088
Randolph517096
Monroe501098
Morgan477995
Fulton475369
Christian474980
Logan471373
Montgomery459776
Lee452456
Bureau421687
Perry407770
Saline393562
Iroquois389170
Fayette385256
McDonough350855
Jersey318753
Douglas301236
Shelby296943
Crawford294030
Union292445
Lawrence291031
Wayne263956
White259229
Richland254052
Hancock250934
Pike249456
Cass245628
Bond241524
Clark241038
Ford232755
Clay230547
Edgar226844
Carroll223637
Warren218655
Johnson207821
Moultrie206730
Washington203827
Jo Daviess201624
Greene197738
Mason194551
Wabash193715
Massac192643
De Witt191230
Piatt188314
Mercer185434
Cumberland172423
Menard154112
Jasper148718
Marshall132721
Hamilton125720
Brown10127
Pulaski96711
Schuyler9568
Edwards94015
Stark75426
Gallatin7214
Scott6885
Alexander66011
Calhoun6342
Henderson62614
Hardin55413
Putnam5414
Pope4685
Unassigned1192432
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
Whitley509851
Steuben480267
Wabash470192
Jasper465760
Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
Adams435565
Daviess4008106
Scott389563
White383457
Decatur376895
Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
Franklin229337
Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461