The rate of child abuse and neglect cases reported to the state has increased in central and southern Illinois. That's according to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The agency's Dave Clarkin can't offer a reason why cases are increasing downstate, while Cook County has reported declines in reported child abuse and neglect. But he says the uptick of cases downstate is a trend that's developed over the last decade. There was a 5-point-4 percent jump in cases reported downstate from July through October, compared with that time last year. Clarkin says D-C-F-S is planning to send more investigators downstate:
"We're working collaboratively with the union and lawmakers to implement that reorganization plan during the veto session, they all share our goal of protecting children and strengthening families."
When legislators return to the capitol later this month, they're expected to debate giving D-C-F-S additional funding. Otherwise, the state may have to go forward laying off case workers. In the spring, lawmakers frustrated with the agency cut its budget.
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