Chapin Hall Identifies Systemic Issues in Assessment of IL DCFS Intact Families Program

Dr. Dana Weiner presents findings at a press briefing. Seated to her left are IL DCFS Director Marc Smith and Chapin Hall Executive Director Bryan Samuels.

Today Chapin Hall released its Systemic Review of Critical Incidents in Intact Family Services, an assessment of this Illinois Dept. of Children and Family Services program and its possible impact on child fatalities. Seven weeks ago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker asked Chapin Hall to review this program following several child deaths.

The report identifies opportunities to make structural, procedural and cultural shifts in the delivery of services that aim to prevent foster care placements. Chapin Hall offers strategic recommendations to the agency to refine programs and policies to better align with positive outcomes.

Among the findings of the report were:

  • The national rate of death due to child maltreatment was 2.36 among 100,000 children in the population in 2016; in Illinois, this rate was 2.16 per 100,000.
  • The number of child maltreatment deaths in Illinois has decreased every year since 2014, while the number of child abuse or neglect victims has increased.
  • DCFS has structural, procedural and cultural issues that should be addressed to decrease risks among children who experience abuse and neglect.

Chapin Hall made nine recommendations to address the issues described in detail in the review. The recommendations included improvements in processes and supervision, clarification of staff roles and child removal criteria, and improvements in preventive services.

Chapin Hall based its assessment and recommendations on an analysis of contributing factors identified in Illinois Office of Inspector General Child Death and Serious Injury Investigations; review of three recent child deaths; systemic review of agency documents; and interviews with administrators, providers, advocates and other stakeholders.

This work was led by Dr. Dana Weiner and Dr. Michael Cull. Mike Stiehl, Tiffany Lindsey, Dr. David Lomascolo and Amber Farrell also contributed to the report.

See a summary of the report and link to the complete report.