Illinois Child Welfare Head Pledges Reform | WBEZ
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Illinois Child Welfare Head Pledges Reform In Abuse Probes

CHICAGO (AP) — Department of Children and Family Services Director George Sheldon says he's considering a major change in the way the agency conducts abuse and neglect investigations.

Sheldon told the Chicago Tribune investigators could benefit from access to records of past unproven allegations.

Sheldon says his review is a result of the death of children after agency investigations, including 1-year-old Semaj Crosby. The toddler died last month in her Joliet Township home shortly after DCFS closed neglect investigations.

DCFS currently expunges and shreds files if the agency determines there is no credible evidence of abuse or neglect. Sheldon says patterns of mistreatment may only emerge by analyzing the information in those "unfounded" cases.

Diane Redleaf of the Family Defense Center says keeping records on unfounded cases could harm the innocent.

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