The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the state agency charged with protecting vulnerable and endangered children. Its caseworkers do an extremely important job under very difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, the top leadership at the agency has been failing them and the children who need their protection.
This month a judge cited Director Marc Smith for contempt of court for the 12th time this year. The contempt citation came after DCFS was found to still be confining a teenage girl in psychiatric care even though she was cleared for discharge six months ago. The other contempt citations followed a similar pattern of failures by DCFS.
These citations come on the heels of the release of an audit in May which reported that DCFS had failed to implement the reforms required by a 2021 law. It found that the agency did not provide adequate medical care and did not properly track possible neglect cases. These were just some of the many deficiencies the audit found in the operation of the department.
House Republicans have been calling for an investigation to get answers. The safety of endangered children is too serious an issue to ignore.