In a press conference on Friday, Illinois House Republicans renewed their calls for reform within the Department of Children and Family Services after another scathing audit of the agency. The two-year investigation found that DCFS failed to comply with multiple state laws created to keep children safe, the very role the agency is tasked with.
Auditors disclosed that DCFS took between 431-906 days to inform schools about investigations of abuse and neglect when state law requires notification within 10 days. DCFS also waited 218-290 days to report cases of infants testing positive for drugs to law enforcement.
“We’ve seen what happens when we’re left out of the conversation, when there is no access, when there is no accountability,” said House Minority Leader Tony McCombie. “There’s federal investigations, there’s corruption and Illinoisans can’t wait.”
Multiple Republican lawmakers have filed bills to provide solutions. Those include requiring a DCFS caseload tracking system, annual report on ongoing child abuse cases and mandatory intact family services for at-risk families. Yet, those proposals have not moved forward due to the lack of support from House Democrats.
State Representative Steve Reick, who serves as the Republican Spokesperson on the House Adoption and Child Welfare Committee, believes the agency needs a complete overhaul.
“You could replace Marc Smith with St. Germaine Cousin, who’s the patron saint of abused children, and nothing would change,” said Reick. “Responsibility for this adverse opinion lies squarely at the feet of the governor.”
House Republicans stand ready to work toward bipartisan solutions to this failed state agency. Read the full report from Friday’s press conference here.