A newspaper investigation found 15 children had died of abuse or neglect from 2012 to 2016 while their families received “intact family services” from organizations hired by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
The intact family services assist about 2,700 children statewide. It aims to offer counseling, resources and oversight to keep families together, instead of removing children from their homes and placing them in foster care.
The Chicago Tribune says its investigation found that only one death occurred under the program from 2007 to 2011. The investigation found that the spike in deaths came after DCFS privatized the program, shifting the care of families to nonprofit groups.
The state’s new child welfare director, Beverly Walker, says she’s started reforming the program by hiring more child protective staff and increasing the agency’s oversight and supervision of the nonprofits.