DCFS Director George Sheldon painted an encouraging picture during his testimony in front of the Appropriations I Committee on March 8.
Having been appointed more than a year ago by Gov. Rauner, Director Sheldon has been working to address a number of shortcomings within DCFS operations. Some of the biggest challenges facing the agency included a “revolving door” of directors, a breakdown in completion and accuracy of paperwork that resulted in the loss of millions in federal funding, reports of abuse within state residential centers, and an inability of the agency to properly account for a number of missing children.
Under the Rauner Administration, DCFS has seen a number of promising improvements indicating that DCFS is moving in the right direction.
Director Sheldon reported that the Department has worked over the past six months to properly file and process paperwork, resulting in the Department receiving an additional $21.5 million in federal funds for Fiscal Year 2016.
DCFS also submitted plans to improve residential centers across the state, including unannounced site visits and enhanced monitoring, reporting, and oversight of facilities, staff, and procedures to ensure more effective communication, safety, and transparency within residential facilities.
DCFS has also partnered with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to create a cross-agency unit of Sheriff’s officers and child welfare specialists to work jointly on recovering missing children in Cook County.