SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) won another victory in her campaign to make the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services more effective and accountable when her proposal to strengthen the department’s safety plans cleared the Senate Human Services Committee.

DCFS implements “safety plans” when its investigators determine that allegations of abuse or neglect are serious, but do not yet warrant that the child or children must be put into protective custody or foster care. The requirements of these plans vary, but they can involve moving the child to the home of a relative like a grandparent or aunt, requiring one or more members of the household to temporarily leave the home, or requiring another family member to temporarily move in and supervise contact.

“DCFS’ safety plans are a key part of the agency’s mission to keep children out of harm’s way,” Morrison said. “They need to be documented and well thought out, and we need to be certain that all of the adults involved know exactly what is expected of them.”

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SPRINGFIELD – Last year, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) launched a special committee to look into Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services. She was concerned about reports of rising death rates, several high-profile cases of potentially preventable deaths and many anecdotal stories about the agency not performing as well as it should. Now, after a series of hearings, Morrison is proposing reforms to help DCFS improve its success rate.

“One of the most important roles our government plays is defending people who can’t defend themselves,” Morrison said. “We must do everything in our power to prevent child abuse and neglect.”

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“DCFS has a lot of caring, motivated employees doing the incredibly difficult job of protecting children. But, what the agency is doing as a whole clearly isn’t working well enough. A director with vision and experience could help change that.” – State Senator Julie Morrison

SPRINGFIELD -  State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield), chair of the Illinois Senate Subcommittee on Issues Relating to DCFS, is calling on Governor Pat Quinn to undertake a national search for the next director of the Department of Children and Family Services. The agency is on its fourth director in four months.

“DCFS needs strong, consistent leadership,” said Morrison, who is sponsoring several measures to help reform the struggling child welfare agency. “This constant turnover of the agency’s top post is putting abused and neglected children at risk. I believe Governor Quinn shares my concerns, and I urge him to undertake a national search.”

The turnover at DCFS began in November when then-director Richard Calica resigned due to health concerns. He has since passed away. Calica was replaced by Interim Director Denise Gonzalez, who served little more than a month before Governor Quinn appointed Arthur Bishop to take over the agency. Mr. Bishop resigned yesterday after a series of news reports questioning his fitness for the post. Yet another interim director will take over the head spot at the agency on Friday.

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file5441277786833SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s $302 billion proposal to repair and expand the nation’s roads and rails:

“Safe, well-maintained roads and bridges are a vital part of our economy. People rely on our nation’s highways to get to work and school. Businesses rely on our Interstate system to ship their products all over the world. I hope that Washington can get its act together and reinvest in our nation’s infrastructure.”

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