In just the past month, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received a scathing audit highlighting its failures and mismanagement in protecting Illinois children, its troubled Director announced his resignation, and a conviction was handed down to a DCFS employee over the death of a young boy.
Now, most recently, the Department is under scrutiny by a bipartisan group of legislators on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) regarding a proposed rule regulating daycare operations.
The contentious rule, similar to the one that was partially suspended over the summer by JCAR, limited how long daycare assistants could monitor rooms of children younger than age two. Citing childcare shortages, members of the committee have been displeased with the rule and were anticipating DCFS to present a new rule that was agreed upon by childcare stakeholders. Instead, DCFS filed a rule that members say was not approved by childcare providers.
Members of the Committee were once again left frustrated, exchanging concerns about DCFS’ lack of transparency and honesty throughout the rulemaking process. Ultimately, JCAR approved the controversial rule, saying that they were left with no choice because given the timeline, the rule either needed to be accepted or there would be no rule at all, which would have left daycares with even more confusion on how to run their facilities.
Senate Republicans have continuously called for structural changes within the Department and say that this latest incident is just another example of the dysfunction at the Agency.