DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA)– Governor Pritzker says he’s working to provide better care for abused and neglected children. Last week he announced a new director for DCFS. He also asked for a review of family services efforts so they can find ways to give better care.
“Our critical mission is to asses their safety, to hear what they are saying even when they cannot speak for themselves,” said Maria Miller of the Department of Children and Family Services. In February 2 year old Tanaja Barnes died from malnourishment and neglect. Police say she was dirty and wrapped in a blanket that smelled like urine. Last month 2 year old Jahir Gibbons was found beaten to death at his home in Chicago. Both children had cases with DCFS.
“I believe this is the most important thing the government can do, protecting these children,” said Governor Pritzker. An inspector general report shows that didn’t alway happen. Between July 2017 and July 2018, 98 children who had DCFS cases died. 18 were considered homicides. DCFS says they have a new core practice model where they’re focusing on child and family team meetings. They’re working to reduce the time young children spend in foster care, increase the number of child advocacy centers, and reduce caseloads by hiring more staff.