Pritzker introduces reform plans for DCFS - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Pritzker introduces reform plans for DCFS

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(WSIL) -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker rolls out new recommendations to overhaul the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Pritzker partnered with the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall to study and address issues within the child welfare agency.

The changes focus on the Intact Family Services program, which provides support for families where children may have either been abused or neglected.

The goal is to keep families together, but a recent report from the Illinois Auditor General found kids are often put in more danger.

Pritzker wants to do three things right away: review more than 1,100 open investigations, put together a crisis intervention team whenever a death occurs during an open investigation, and expand training and retraining for caseworkers.  

Pritzker said the problems at DCFS start with poor funding and poor leadership.

"What I can promise you is that a day will not go by in my administration where we are not thinking about and making real advances forward to try to protect these children all across our state," Pritzker said.

The report from the University of Chicago makes nine recommendations for future reforms, including better protocols for closing investigations, clarifying goals and expectations for staff, and to direct more attention to the most dangerous cases.

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