WOODSTOCK, IL … Responding to the issuance of the Illinois Auditor General’s Child Safety and Well-Being performance audit of DCFS, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) issued the following statement:
“Today’s report once again shines a harsh light upon the systemic failures of DCFS to protect children in its care. Among the most glaring shortcomings were the Department’s failure to document home safety checks prior to returning children to their families and a lack of documentation showing that a required six months of aftercare services are being provided and that routine medical care is being provided.
Just as damning is the fact that throughout the audit, DCFS maintained that it couldn’t provide information on welfare service referrals under the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) because it didn’t have a mechanism to keep track of such information. However, on April 19, after the final audit exit interview, the auditor was told that DCFS was in fact keeping track of this information and could have provided it. The result was that this critical part of the review went completely unexamined.”
Since 2019, Representative Reick has been part of a bipartisan working group examining the workings of DCFS. He has proposed legislation for a pilot program in McHenry County (H.B. 634) to create a local child welfare department to replace the top-down system we now have.
“An audit shouldn’t raise more questions than it answers, but such is not the case here. For instance, the Governor has consistently blamed the prior administration for starving the Department of funding, and since 2019, the Department’s enacted appropriations went from $795 million to $1.3 billion in the 2023 budget. Expenditures went from $780 million to $1.15 billion. Even with almost twice the funding, 64% of the positions on the Department’s organizational chart remain unfilled. Where did all that money go? It’s time to stop casting blame and start taking responsibility.”