(AP) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he will quickly adopt every recommendation made in a report on suggested improvements to the Department of Children and Family Services.
The Democrat and DCFS Director Marc Smith faced reporters Wednesday after releasing a review of the child-welfare agency by the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall research center. The report found that DCFS often endangers children with its focus on keeping troubled families intact.
The study came after Pritzker asked the research center to examine DCFS unit that oversees households in which the kids are left at home after allegations of abuse or neglect.
The study found that department staffers are so convinced that prosecutors will not agree with their removal requests that they do not bother to ask. It also found communication is so bad that case workers may not even know evidence uncovered by its investigators.
Pritzker says the work has begun with a DCFS review of 1,100 cases to ensure that proper steps were taken. The agency’s actions have been questioned in the cases of three children under its care who have died since January.
Pritzker says DCFS will create a “crisis intervention team” to immediately intervene when a child has died to review and recommend changes to prevent future deaths.