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State

Record number of Illinois children die while in DCFS care

CHICAGO (AP) – A record number of youth have been killed while in the care of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services, many of them victims of Chicago’s gang violence.

The Chicago Tribune reports 11 youths died during a 2-year period that ended June 30, 2015.

A confidential Office of the Inspector General report obtained by the newspaper notes societal problems such as poverty played a role. It also identifies failures in the state system.

Many teens were placed for long periods in emergency shelters or in homes located in rival gang territories.

Some lived with elderly relatives who were offered inadequate services to raise a teen with behavioral problems.

DCFS Director George Sheldon acknowledged many children weren’t served well. But he says the solutions go beyond government and must be “a communitywide conversation.”

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