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New report shows how many kids on DCFS radar died in last 18 months

By CHRIS TYE

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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services takes in $1.5 billion of Illinois taxpayer money each year.

The department is in charge of keeping the most vulnerable kids in Illinois safe – and alive. But in a just-released report, we got an insider’s look at the number of kids with DCFS contact dying over the last 18 months.

CBS 2’s Chris Tye has covered the department for years – with some of his reporting leading to law changes. He dug into a new DCFS Inspector General report on Thursday.

For DCFS Director Marc Smith and his 2,900 employees, the wellbeing of children is job one. But the kids who lean on DCFS as a safety net are falling through it at a pace not seen in decades.

Over the last year, we have told the stories of 11 kids who have died on DCFS radar. They were in foster homes and child welfare facilities and were killed in homes flagged as violent.

As it turns out, those 11 are the tip of a much larger and chilling iceberg.

The DCFS Inspector General released its Annual Report to the Governor and the General Assembly on Wednesday, showing the total number of kids who died on the DCFS radar wasn’t 11 – or even 111.

It was 171.

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