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(WTTW News)

Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services has been struggling to find proper placements, particularly for high-needs youth for whom the agency is having to stand in as a pseudo parent. So much so that some children and teens who have had a stint at a psychiatric hospital are there after they’ve been cleared for release because there’s nowhere for them to go. 

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Marc Smith, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, discusses the stabbing death of state child welfare worker Diedre Silas during a news conference on Jan. 5, 2022, in Springfield. (AP Photo / John O'Connor)

Illinois officials are seeking answers after the killing last week of a state child welfare worker during a home visit — the second such tragedy to occur in less than five years.

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In 2019, ProPublica Illinois reported that the state’s child welfare agency was failing to serve Spanish-speaking families by not offering Spanish-speaking caseworkers and placing children into homes where Spanish wasn’t spoken. (WTTW News)

A new report says Illinois’ child welfare agency is failing to serve Spanish-speaking children and families in their language. ProPublica Illinois reporter Melissa Sanchez has details.

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This undated photo provided by the Crystal Lake, Illinois Police Department shows Andrew “AJ” Freund. (Crystal Lake Police Department via AP)

Two former Illinois child welfare workers who investigated abuse allegations involving AJ Freund face child endangerment charges accusing them of failing to protect him from harm, according to an indictment filed Friday.

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In this July 16, 2020 file photo, JoAnn Cunningham, cries and wipes her nose during her sentencing hearing in Woodstock, Ill. On Friday, June 17, 2020 Cunningham was sentenced to 35 years in prison for beating her five-year-old son to death in April of 2019. (John Starks / Daily Herald via AP Pool File)

A northern Illinois woman who subjected her young son to years of physical and emotional abuse culminating in his beating death last year was on Friday sentenced to 35 years in prison.

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This undated photo provided by the Crystal Lake, Illinois Police Department shows Andrew “AJ” Freund. (Crystal Lake Police Department via AP)

The hearing is expected to end on Friday with McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt sentencing 37-year-old JoAnn Cunningham. She has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the beating death of her son, Andrew “AJ” Freund.

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(Skitterphoto / Pixabay)

A Cook County judge has rejected a push to overturn a temporary ban that has prevented children in foster care from having supervised visits with their parents and siblings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 21, 2019.

A temporary ban put in place by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has kept children in foster care from having supervised visits with their parents and siblings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker will lay out his vision for the state budget. His office has already made public his plan to send more money to the Department of Children and Family Services.

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(Chicago Lakeshore Hospital / Facebook photo)

Cook County’s public guardian filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against a Chicago psychiatric facility that treated children in state care, alleging troubling claims of sexual abuse and improper medication at the “hospital of horrors.’’

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Acting Director Marc Smith appears on “Chicago Tonight.”

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has faced troubles for years. Acting Director Marc Smith talks about issues facing the state’s child welfare agency.

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A memorial of flowers, balloons, a cross and photo of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez are displayed on the lawn, Friday, May 17, 2019 in Chicago, outside the home where Ochoa-Lopez was murdered last month. (AP Photo / Teresa Crawford)

Police and Illinois’ child welfare agency say staff at a Chicago-area hospital didn’t alert them after determining that a bloodied woman who arrived with a gravely ill newborn had not just given birth to the baby boy, as she claimed.

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In this May 13, 2019 photo, Dana Weiner, policy fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, discusses a review of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ Intact Family Services program, during a press event at DCFS. (Ashlee Rezin/Sun Times via AP)

Illinois’ child welfare agency is so intent on keeping children with their parents even when they have strong evidence of abuse that it has sometimes left those children in grave danger, a study released Wednesday found.

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JoAnn Cunningham, left, and Andrew Freund Sr. have each been charged in the murder of their 5-year-old son, Andrew "AJ" Freund. A criminal complaint filed Thursday, April 25, 2019, outlines first-degree murder, aggravated battery and several other charges against the couple. A judge set bail at $5 million for each parent. (McHenry County Sheriff's Department via AP)

JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. of Crystal Lake appeared in McHenry County court Friday, the day after a 30-page grand jury indictment was handed down in the case.

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(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday took aim at the state’s Department of Children and Family Services, which has been haunted for decades by deaths wrought of abuse and neglect.

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This undated photo provided by the Crystal Lake, Illinois Police Department shows Andrew “AJ” Freund. (Crystal Lake Police Department via AP)

JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr.’s younger son was taken into Illinois Department of Children and Family Services custody following the disappearance of Andrew “AJ” Freund.