SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Republican state representatives called for a change in leadership of the state’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) after a scathing report from the auditor general.
The report found that DCFS could not provide 192 of 195 Home Safety Checklists, which DCFS is mandated to complete when a child can return to the custody of a parent or guardian.
Although that means 98% of the records were not available, State Rep. Tom Weber (R-Fox Lake) called it a 98% failure rate.
Weber, along with his fellow Republicans on the virtual conference call, blamed the problem entirely on Gov. J.B. Pritzker and DCFS Director Mark Smith.
“It is transparent from the audit that DCFS is more broken, not less, since Mark Smith and J.B. Pritzker have taken over,” Weber said.
Weber said over the year of the audit, completed by Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, showed 102 deaths of children covered by DCFS, or one child every three days.
State Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) acknowledged that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problems DCFS must address.
“Our foster system is in shambles,” Reick said. “Largely because what we try to do with the best intentions is to keep families together until the situation becomes intolerable. Then, we run to the courts to take kids out of their homes and provide permanency. By the time that happens, kids are often too scarred– physically, emotionally, and mentally, to be put into traditional foster or permanent settings.”
The full press conference can be viewed in the video player above, and the full audit report can be found below: