Illinois Legislature to take hard look at DCFS

With the holiday season in full swing, the state Capitol is largely quiet. But some legislators say this is the exact time to think of children in the state’s care.

State Rep. Patti Bellock, R-Hinsdale, called reports of physical and sexual violence within the state’s child welfare agency “an absolute tragedy.”

She said an upcoming hearing to examine the problems at the Department of Children and Family Services could mark the start of a bipartisan effort to greatly improve child protection in Illinois.

State Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, another member of the House Human Services committee examining the issues, agrees change is needed, including making child protection a true state priority.

DCFS has long been underfunded and understaffed and leadership at the top has too often changed, Cabello said. “I’ve worked with a number of DCFS people, caseworkers, in my area. I can tell you they are committed to doing what is right, committed to doing the most they can with what they have,” said the Rockford police detective who is on leave while he serves in the General Assembly. The Rockford Register Star has the story by Mark Fitton with the Illinois News Network.