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: 1357843

Reported Deaths: 24617
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook54365810080
DuPage902661277
Will75240989
Lake66984986
Kane58192769
Winnebago33017472
Madison30439518
McHenry28481285
St. Clair27802512
Peoria23019305
Champaign20563145
Sangamon18656234
McLean18086178
Tazewell16884282
Rock Island14913310
Kankakee14120209
Kendall1297393
LaSalle12488243
Macon10715198
DeKalb9838119
Vermilion9575132
Adams8421123
Williamson7404129
Whiteside7142171
Boone668072
Ogle608781
Grundy586675
Clinton575490
Coles567094
Knox5537142
Jackson500664
Henry493763
Livingston481285
Stephenson473882
Effingham472772
Woodford471876
Macoupin468681
Marion4467115
Franklin444374
Monroe435593
Jefferson4281120
Lee415352
Randolph412784
Fulton390355
Morgan388181
Logan385957
Montgomery370973
Bureau370582
Christian365073
Fayette316855
Perry316060
Iroquois299966
McDonough283047
Jersey268949
Douglas258335
Saline256554
Lawrence240425
Shelby229137
Union225740
Crawford211426
Bond204224
Cass198325
Jo Daviess180624
Warren179646
Clark179133
Pike178652
Ford177646
Wayne177052
Hancock175531
Carroll174936
Richland174440
Edgar169639
White169326
Washington163925
Moultrie160728
De Witt150524
Mason150145
Piatt148614
Clay148143
Mercer146433
Greene143633
Johnson143215
Wabash134512
Massac133640
Cumberland129119
Menard123112
Jasper115018
Marshall106418
Hamilton83115
Schuyler7435
Brown7036
Pulaski6887
Stark63423
Edwards56912
Henderson52514
Calhoun5182
Putnam4813
Scott4771
Alexander46711
Gallatin4584
Hardin38612
Pope3194
Out of IL20
Unassigned02356

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 730969

Reported Deaths: 13434
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1000031743
Lake53771970
Allen40668678
St. Joseph35733552
Hamilton35629408
Elkhart28577442
Tippecanoe22402219
Vanderburgh22310397
Porter18776308
Johnson17970379
Hendricks17244315
Clark12985191
Madison12673339
Vigo12449247
LaPorte11928211
Monroe11893170
Delaware10696186
Howard9924216
Kosciusko9410117
Hancock8284141
Bartholomew8070156
Warrick7784155
Floyd7669178
Grant7060174
Wayne7051199
Boone6700101
Morgan6576139
Dubois6156117
Marshall6050111
Dearborn581378
Cass5808105
Henry5720103
Noble561384
Jackson501773
Shelby491996
Lawrence4546120
Harrison435872
Gibson435492
DeKalb428485
Clinton427453
Montgomery424189
Whitley396139
Huntington391980
Steuben387857
Miami381866
Knox371990
Jasper366047
Putnam360760
Wabash354179
Adams341354
Ripley339770
Jefferson330981
White314354
Daviess297399
Wells291581
Decatur285492
Fayette280762
Greene278985
Posey271533
LaGrange266770
Scott266354
Clay260247
Randolph240781
Washington240732
Spencer232131
Jennings230149
Starke216654
Fountain212346
Sullivan211942
Owen200256
Fulton195440
Jay195130
Carroll189320
Orange183654
Perry183037
Rush173425
Vermillion169143
Franklin168135
Tipton162845
Parke146316
Blackford134932
Pike134334
Pulaski116845
Newton107834
Brown102141
Crawford99814
Benton98614
Martin89115
Warren82115
Switzerland7918
Union71010
Ohio56811
Unassigned0416