Child welfare agency inspector fields questions about troubled department



(The Center Square) – As Illinois lawmakers approve the inspector general for the Department of Child and Family Services, questions remain about what is being done to fix the significant issues within the department.

The Illinois Senate on Tuesday approved Ann McIntyre as the DCFS inspector general. She’s been the acting IG since September 2022. She will continue in her position as appointed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Since December, five children have died while on the state’s child protection agency’s radar, including an 8-year-old, a 6-year-old, and two, 1-year-olds. Critics blame the state’s child welfare agency, who reportedly had interactions with the children and their families.

DCFS Director Marc Smith has received several contempt of court orders after failing to place youth in proper care in a timely manner.

McIntyre was asked during her appointment what was being done to fix these issues.

“Throughout my time as acting Inspector General, I’ve been committed to the mission of this office to reform and strengthen the child welfare system,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre said she will focus on investigating issues she finds.

“We will hold independent, comprehensive investigations and to hold the department as well as individual employees, supervisors and administrators accountable for instances of misconduct,” McIntyre said.

A 248-page report released by the Illinois Inspector General shows that in 2022, Illinois’ child welfare agency saw 171 kids die while on the department’s radar or within 12 months after the department made contact with them.

DCFS is a multi-billion dollar agency. However, McIntyre said she needs more to fix these problems.

“We need more resources,” McIntyre said. “The state departments need more placements for our children. Right now, we just do not have enough.”

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