DCFS Director Stepping Down
Following the recent release of another scathing audit covering repeated issues with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the director of the embattled agency, Marc D. Smith, announced that he would be leaving his position at the end of the year.
DCFS is charged with caring for vulnerable Illinois children, including victims of abuse and children who are in the care of the state for various reasons.
The recent compliance audit of DCFS contained 33 findings of the agency not being in compliance with state laws and rules, including multiple failures by the agency to properly notify authorities about evidence of abuse against children in a timely fashion. The audit also called “misstatements” that were “both material and pervasive.” The audit contained 23 findings of noncompliance from the agency’s previous audit.
Additionally in recent years, DCFS and Director Smith have been found to be in contempt of court in multiple cases for failing to properly place children into safe homes. Some of the cases involved children who were left in psychiatric facilities months after they were ready to be released. Another involved a teenage girl who was moved 24 times in just 4 months.
According to news reports, Director Smith first announced that he was leaving during a conference call with staff. The information was later confirmed by the Governor, along with the departures of the directors of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Department on Aging.
State Senator Terri Bryant says that the Governor needs to act swiftly to find a competent new director for DCFS but warns that the issues at the agency run much deeper than just one person. She says that it is unacceptable that the administration has allowed the agency to continue to fail to protect the vulnerable children of our state for so long.
Veterans Memorial Returns to Capitol
Members of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus are once again working to honor the sacrifices of veterans with a memorial at the Illinois State Capitol.
The caucus’ memorial will be on display in the Capitol rotunda from November 7th to November 20th. It will feature a large electronic display of veterans and their stories, along with a wall where visitors can write notes of thanks to those who served.
However, they need YOUR help to make sure that as many veterans are recognized as possible!
Senator Bryant is encouraging friends and family to submit a photo and short story (less than 250 words) of their veteran by November 6th, so that it can be a part of the memorial display. Entries can be submitted to VeteransDay@sgop.ilga.gov.
Illinois Farmers Making Progress
Farmers in the Land of Lincoln are starting to make significant progress on harvesting the state’s corn and soybean crops.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), 23% of Illinois corn acres have been harvested, along with 19% of soybean acres. Those totals are just about double the number of acres that were harvested at the same point in 2022.
The condition of the crops has improved significantly as well. While much of the state was suffering from moderate to severe drought as recently as June, late season rains helped the fields to rebound. According to the NASS data, 66% of Illinois corn and soybean acres are rated as good or excellent.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
If you’ve noticed lots of folks wearing pink ribbons in recent days, that’s because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The focus is on promoting awareness of the disease, along with the stories of survivors and those who lost their lives. Numerous breast cancer organizations also hold fundraisers to help generate money for research on treatments to help patients.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. An estimated 43,700 American women will die in 2023 from the disease. When caught early however, the 5-year survival rate is 99%. There are currently 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the country.
For more information on breast cancer, visit Breast Cancer (illinois.gov)