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Legislation would help family of slain DCFS investigator

Capitol News Illinois

Illinois senators have approved a plan to help survivors of Department of Children and Family Services caseworkers who die in the line of duty.

It would allow them to receive a State Employee Group Insurance death benefit, no matter how long the person worked for the agency. That’s similar to when a law enforcement officer is killed. Current law requires eight years of service for employees.

The proposal follows the death of Deidre Silas of Springfield, a caseworker killed while on a home visit in Thayer last month. The legislation would be retroactive to ensure Silas’ family receives health coverage.

Silas is survived by her husband, a five year old son and a two year old daughter.

“Deidre gave her life as a dedicated public servant for our state, and this is the least we can do to honor her commitment to our state,” said State Sen. Doris Turner (D-Springfield).

The legislation now moves to the Illinois House.

Silas, 36, died when she was stabbed at the home. A suspect, Benjamin Reed, is in custody and faces charges including first degree murder.

Another DCFS investigator, Pamela Knight, died in 2017 following an attack in Carroll County while attempting to remove a child from a home.

There are proposals at the statehouse to increase penalties for those who harm a DCFS worker.

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