Following a scathing performance audit of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Legislative Audit Commission (LAC) met last week to ask questions of its director, Marc Smith.
The audit found a list of upsetting findings including DCFS’s negligence in ensuring that children in its care are receiving their well-child visits and check-ups. Of the cases tested, nearly 20 percent of children were missing at least one physical examination.
Additionally, the report found that DCFS lacked major control over the Home Safety Checklists and lacked required documentation for families involved in after-service care.
Despite these unsettling findings, Director Smith stated in the LAC hearing that his agency is “one of the best child welfare systems in the country.” Since the start of this year, Smith has been held in contempt of court 12 times for failing to properly place youth in care. And since December, nine kids on the radar of Illinois DCFS have died. Still, Gov. Pritzker says he has complete confidence in Director Smith and has failed to remove him from the position.
The complete lack of accountability at DCFS has gone on for far too long, and our state’s children deserve better. It is well past time that Governor Pritzker makes a leadership change at DCFS.