Report: 'Over-bureaucratization' undermines care at DCFS

CHICAGO (AP) - A new report from a court-appointed panel says "over-bureaucratization" undermines the quality of care provided by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to children with psychological and behavioral problems.

The 29-page report filed this week in Chicago federal court stems from a consent decree requiring that the agency offer adequate care.

Among its criticisms is that bureaucracy "leads to risk-adverse, compliance-oriented accountability" rather than "results-oriented accountability."

It says initiatives are often "rushed into production," lading to "a system shaped by crises, practitioner preferences, tradition and system expediency."

It recommends the appointment of a new external monitor who reports to the court.

The associate legal director of American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Benjamin Wolf, says the report's "a clarion call for change."

The acting director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services says he accepts the findings and recommendations of the new report.

A Friday statement from George H. Sheldon emailed to the Associated Press describes the report as "thoughtful, concise and thorough." He adds the department "accepts its findings and recommendations."

Sheldon says he's observed many of the problems highlighted in the report since becoming acting director in February. He says the agency has "already begun implementing changes" to better serve children" and to "streamline the bureaucratic process."

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