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DCFS honors Illinois law enforcement in observance
of National Missing Children's Day

Chicago, IL - The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) hosts the first annual DCFS Law Enforcement Awards to mark National Missing Children's Day. Three Illinois law enforcement officers will be honored for their exemplary performance in recovering children missing from DCFS placements. National Missing Children's Day is Sunday, May 25, 2003.

The event takes place Friday, May 23 at 1p.m. at the DCFS Emergency Reception Center located at 810 West Montrose.

DCFS Director Bryan Samuels will present awards to the following individuals:

Chicago Police Department (CPD) Commander Roberta Bartik. Commander Bartik heads the CPD's Juvenile Advocacy Division. She is the longest serving youth commander in CPD history, having held that post since 1994. Commander Bartik is a passionate and dedicated partner of DCFS and because of her efforts, hundreds of wards have been located and recovered.

Knox County Sheriff's Deputy Michael L. Johnston will be honored for an incredible job locating two foster children abducted by their mother this March. Deputy Johnston's hard work and dedication were instrumental in finding the children unharmed within eight days of being reported missing.

U.S. Department of State Special Agent Jim Lemarie will be recognized for his extraordinary efforts to coordinate the successful rescue and return of three DCFS wards and adopted sons of Esi Antobam, who is incarcerated and charged with alien smuggling. The three boys were living thousands of miles from Illinois in Ghana, but under the direction of Agent Lemarie, they were located and brought back safely to Chicago.

The tracking and locating of all missing youth in the custody of DCFS is a top priority of the agency. Last week the Department convened the Illinois Missing Children's Task Force to oversee efforts to find all missing children within 60 days and to review all issues related to youth absent from placement.

Jill Manuel
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

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