The Chicago Reporter published an in-depth and heartbreaking article about how the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) responds to cases of child abuse and neglect, highlighting an alarming trend: many of the children end up dying before DCFS can investigate. Since the 90’s, the ACLU of Illinois has kept a watchful eye on DCFS, as part of a consent decree to address high caseloads and to reform guidelines and practices.
Still, after nearly two decades, some terms of the consent decree have yet to be met, said Benjamin Wolf, the ACLU’s associate legal director in Illinois. The investigators’ caseload, for example, is supposed to get only up to 15 new cases per month, but each investigator still handles an average of more than 20 cases per month, Wolf said.
“You can’t do your job if you have these many cases,” Wolf said. “There is just no way you can adequately investigate each case.”