DCFS reforms child welfare program that saw surge in deaths

CHICAGO — An Illinois Department of Children and Family Services official says the agency has started reforming its privatized child welfare program after a newspaper investigation revealed a surge in children deaths.

DCFS Deputy Director of Child Protection, Nora Harms-Pavelski, announced at a legislative hearing Tuesday that the agency is taking back some cases from contracted nonprofits. She says the agency is also receiving immediate reports on any instance of mistreatment of a child in the “intact family services” program.

The program changes come after a Chicago Tribune investigation found 15 children died of abuse or neglect from 2012 to 2016 while their families were enrolled in the family services program. The investigation also found that the spike in deaths came after DCFS privatized the program, shifting the care of families to nonprofit groups.

–Associated Press

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