SPRINGFIELD – The Auditor General today released a troubling audit on the failure of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to report missing children in state custody dating back to 2011. The audit comes on the heels of an ongoing investigation into abuse and lack of supervision in DCFS residential facilities, the subject of an upcoming Illinois House hearing scheduled for January 7. The reports involve cases of physical and sexual abuse of children in state custody; including exposure to drugs, acts of violence and forced prostitution.

The audit released today was conducted in response to a legislative measure adopted in May, HR 120, directing the Office of the Auditor General to conduct a management audit of the DCFS search for missing children. The Resolution asked the audit to determine for calendar years 2011–2012: (1) the number of children reported missing; (2) whether timely reports of missing children were made to required parties; and (3) the steps followed to locate and recover missing children, including compliance with procedures.
CHICAGO – House Republicans today praised the scheduling of a hearing of the Human Services Committee for Wednesday, January 7 to receive testimony regarding documented abuse at DCFS Residential Facilities throughout the state. The hearing comes in response to a series of disturbing reports exposing cases of physical and sexual abuse of children in state custody; including exposure to drugs, acts of violence and forced prostitution.

Deputy House Minority Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), the Republican Spokesperson on the Human Services Appropriations Committee, applauded legislative leaders for scheduling the upcoming hearing and stressed the need for an immediate response by DCFS officials.

"We absolutely must do a better job of protecting every child in the DCFS system and come up with remedies to prevent the exploitation and physical or sexual abuse of these kids,” Bellock said. “The safety of children must be our paramount priority. The current system is clearly failing too many kids and putting thousands at risk. I join Governor-elect Rauner’s call for a bipartisan response by the General Assembly to approve needed reforms with built-in accountability.”

The Human Services Committee hearing is scheduled to take place at 10:00am on Wednesday, January 7 at the Michael A. Bilandic Building. The facilities in question where documented abuse has occurred are contracted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to provide supervision and therapy for youth who have suffered abuse and neglect or have serious behavioral and mental health issues.

“Accounts of the abuse that has gone unchecked in some Illinois youth facilities is an absolute tragedy,” added Rep. Bellock. “These children are put in state care to protect them from danger. One thing is clear: we need to make changes to ensure these children are cared for and protected moving forward without delay.”


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WESTMONT– Deputy House Minority Leader and State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) issued the following statement today upon news of the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka:  

"Judy Baar Topinka was a trailblazer for women in Illinois government. Her fearless tenacity, unbridled energy and indomitable spirit made her a remarkable leader and true public servant. Illinois is a better state for having had the benefit of her leadership, and all of us who knew her and who were privileged to call her a friend have lost someone near and dear to our hearts. I extend my deepest condolences to the Topinka family at this difficult time."


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