State Senator Says Work Needs To Be Done At DCFS, Citing AJ Freund Case

Nancy Harty
July 20, 2020 - 12:42 pm
Andrew Freund

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A state lawmaker points to the 35 year prison sentence for AJ Freund’s mother as a reminder of the work that needs to be done at the Department of Children and Family Services.

The DCFS Inspector General investigated 124 child deaths last year, including AJ Freund's. 

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State Senator Sara Feigenholtz is worried COVID-related job losses and shutdowns are exacerbating abuse.

The Chicago Democrat said with children out of school since March, calls of possible abuse to the state hotline have dropped because teachers, who are mandated reporters, haven’t seen their students.

"My big fear, and I hope I am wrong, is once kids start to come back to school, the calls will skyrocket; and will we be ready for it?" Feigenholtz said.

She also wants the state to help at-risk families reduce stressors that frequently lead to abuse such as drug addiction, which was cited by AJ’s mother.

The senator is hopeful telemedicine will help doctors make assessments in challenging cases and a long-delayed move to a managed care plan will give children in the care of DCFS greater access to mental health care.