Lack of action by DCFS is failing the children in the care of the state of Illinois

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin sent a letter to the Chair of the House Appropriations Human Services Committee this morning to call for a hearing on the failures at DCFS that have caused a Cook County judge to hold DCFS director Marc Smith in contempt of court. The letter reads:

Chairperson Lilly,

The Department of Children and Family Services receives over a billion dollars in state support annually. It is tasked with protecting the state’s most vulnerable residents, a mission both Republicans and Democrats can agree is essential to the state. That is why it is so heartbreaking to see that DCFS Director Marc Smith is being held in contempt of court for failing to do his job.

Recently the Chicago Sun Times reported that Director Smith has failed for months to properly place two youth in care of the state in appropriate settings. Instead, keeping them in psychiatric care well after they were ready to be placed with a family.

Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. Under the Pritzker administration, more than 350 children have been left to languish in psychiatric care despite having been cleared to move on to a family setting.

The unprecedented step by the Cook County judiciary to hold Director Smith in contempt needs to be a wake-up call to the General Assembly. The lack of action by DCFS is failing the children in the care of the state.

I hope you agree and will immediately convene hearings with DCFS and Director Smith on this issue. The taxpayer dollars that have been allocated to DCFS are clearly not being spent the way the General Assembly intended, and the core mission of DCFS is not being fulfilled. It is the duty of your committee to immediately investigate this matter, our children can’t wait.


Jim Durkin
House Republican Leader
82nd District