Reick calls for GA oversight of DCFS investigation into latest abuse allegations

After recent news stories surfaced about alleged sexual abuse of foster children in the care of Aunt Martha’s Integrated Care Center in Chicago, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) issued the following statement:
“Once again our child welfare system is having a bright light directed at it for failing children in its care. Even though allegations of abuse surfaced in August of 2023, it was not until May of this year that DCFS took action to remove children from Aunt Martha’s ICC.

I understand that a criminal case is ongoing, but it’s not too early to find answers as to how these alleged perpetrators were hired in the first place. The most recent case involves a staffer who served four years in a federal penitentiary for armed robbery. How did this not show up on a background check?

Now we’ve also just learned that Aunt Martha's is the subject of 170 ongoing DCFS investigations. What’s being done to keep kids safe in this environment? The fact that they’ve been removed from Aunt Martha’s does not guarantee that they’re in a better place.

"DCFS cannot be allowed to conduct its own investigation of these practices; the General Assembly needs to exercise its oversight role. We can’t wait for the criminal cases to run their course because of what else may be out there now that puts children at risk.

I’m calling for immediate hearings by the House Adoption and Child Welfare Committee to find out who knew what, when they knew it and how high in the agency that knowledge went. Why were other parties involved in the child welfare process, such as the Cook County Public Guardian’s office and even judges not informed?

We need answers to the ongoing problem of background checks, and we must also conduct a thorough examination of the contracts for Aunt Martha’s and other organizations offering integrated care services. If DCFS is going to have a light cast upon it, it should come from us and not the media.”