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Missing persons reports filed on missing DCFS wards

Chicago, Ill-The Department of Children and Family Services Office of Inspector General has begun the process of making sure a missing persons report is filed with police on every State ward who is currently absent from placement. This is part of the department's vigorous new efforts to not only pursue each new ward known to be missing, but to locate and make contact with all current missing and runaway youth within 60 days.

The DCFS Office of Inspector General estimates thirty missing DCFS wards in Cook County age 17 and under did not have a missing persons report on file with the Chicago Police Department. In the past two days, the OIG filed sixteen of those 30. The OIG is working to secure pictures and other supporting materials to file reports on the remaining wards.

In their report to Governor Blagojevich, the DCFS Task Force found staff were not required by management to ensure law enforcement reports were made on missing and runaway youth, and to ensure reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were made on all children absent from their placements. In addition, the Task Force found DCFS did not make sure caseworkers made actual efforts to locate missing wards.

DCFS intends to make sure every missing ward in the state of Illinois has a missing persons report on file because only after police have these reports can one be filed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The identification and location of missing youth in DCFS care is a top priority for the department today, and will be a top priority in the future. DCFS will exert every effort and use every available resource to locate and make contact with our wards.

Jill Manuel
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

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