Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

State officials speaking at a committee hearing Tuesday morning
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

This story has been corrected to include an official response from DCFS.

A group of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services workers said the agency is failing to protect them from being exposed to the new coronavirus. The union representing those workers, meanwhile, is demanding more protections be put in place.

Betsy Goulet sitting at her desk at home posing for the photo
Joe Goulet

Betsy Goulet has worked to help and protect children since the late 80s. After a brief stint as a Child Protective Investigator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, she went on to found such groups as the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center and advise public leaders on at-risk youth and victims of childhood violence.

State officials speaking at a committee hearing Tuesday morning
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers grilled state officials Tuesday about significant problems with health care for thousands of kids with ties to the Illinois child welfare system.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is once again under scrutiny, the Pritzker administration issues a budget warning, and Cook County judges reelect their leader.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois gets an April surprise — $1.5 billion in unexpected revenue — as lawmakers debate what the windfall means. The public also got its first look at the long-anticipated language in a proposal that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Meanwhile, an audit found that child abuse and neglect investigations suffered during the budget impasse of 2015-17, and lawmakers advanced legislation that would more than double the gas tax in order to pay for infrastructure building and repair.

An audit released Tuesday paints a damning picture of Illinois’ child-welfare agency.

DCFS Urges Child Supervision Around Water

Jul 14, 2014
flickr/rockandbacon

Illinois has recorded 10 child drownings this spring and summer.  That's prompted the state's child welfare agency to remind parents about the need to use caution and keep a watchful eye.

"When we're talking about an infant or a toddler, we talk about touch supervision or reach supervision.  Which means you never let that child get any farther away from you than you can reach out your hand to grab them if they need your help,"  said Jennifer Florent with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Richard Calica, executive director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Richard Calica’s Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is beset with problems. One Chicago Tribune investigation this spring found that investigators into suspected cases of abuse are spread too thin, putting the agency in violation of a 1991 federal consent decree that resulted from a series of lawsuits. Later, another of the newspaper’s probes showed that more than half of the day-care operations in the state weren’t inspected within a three-year licensing period.