Lawmakers question state DCFS on abuse cases

Jan 13, 2014

More Illinois children are dying from abuse or neglect.  And Monday - Illinois state senators once again asked the state’s child welfare agency what’s being done about it.  

Last month - WBEZ partnered with the Chicago Sun-Times and found more children have been dying in recent years - even after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had had contact with the family.

More than 100 children died last year from abuse or neglect - prompting a series of hearings by state senators.  In today’s fifth hearing on the matter - senators heard three hours of testimony from advocates, attorneys, and staff.

Acting Director Denise Gonzales outlined some general goals for change.

GONZALES: Senators, I want you to know that we have heard you.

Gonzales says she’s trying to fill vacant investigator positions more quickly, and wants to give more training to those who are mandated to report suspected child abuse.

But other speakers told senators there are ongoing problems with the way DCFS collects data and in how few bilingual case workers it employs.