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The Latest: Pritzker pledges immediate action on DCFS woes

Body of missing Illinois boy found, parents charged

Police say they found the body of a five-year-old Illinois boy, Andrew "AJ" Freund, who went missing in mid-April. His parents have been charged with murder.
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Police say they found the body of a five-year-old Illinois boy, Andrew "AJ" Freund, who went missing in mid-April. His parents have been charged with murder.

The Latest on recommendations to improve the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (all times local):

12 p.m.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he will quickly adopt every recommendation made in a report on suggested improvements to the Department of Children and Family Services.

The Democrat and DCFS Director Marc Smith faced reporters Wednesday after releasing a review of the child-welfare agency by the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall research center. The report found that DCFS often endangers children with its focus on keeping troubled families intact.

Pritzker says the work has begun with a DCFS review of 1,100 cases to ensure that proper steps were taken. The agency’s actions have been questioned in the cases of three children under its care who have died since January.

Pritzker says DCFS will create a “crisis intervention team” to immediately intervene when a child has died to review and recommend changes to prevent future deaths.

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12 a.m.

A study has found that Illinois’ child welfare agency is so intent on keeping children with their parents and out of foster care that it has sometimes left children in grave danger.

The study released Wednesday is comes after Gov. J.B. Pritzker asked the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall research center to examine the Department of Children and Family Services unit that oversees households in which the kids are left at home after allegations of abuse or neglect.

The study found that department staffers are so convinced that prosecutors won’t agree with their removal requests that they don’t bother to ask. It also found communication is so bad that case workers may not even know evidence uncovered by its investigators.

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