State child welfare agency has to write improvement plan

Flickr | Beth Cortez-Neavel

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois' troubled child welfare agency must outline a detailed plan to make improvements at residential treatment centers and in other areas by February 2016 under a federal court agreement.

Judge Jorge Alonso entered an agreed order Tuesday that's part of a years-old consent decree aimed addressing poor management at the Department of Children and Family Services. Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois sued over "dangerously inadequate" care. Court-appointed experts detailed problems in a scathing report, including "over-bureaucratization."

DCFS accepted the report and agreed to changes.

The final overhaul plan is due in court on Feb. 23.

Meanwhile, court-appointed experts will continue their work.

DCFS spokesman Andrew Flach says the agency looks forward to collaborating to improve children's lives. The ACLU calls the agreement a positive step.