A year after Illinois child welfare officials revealed under pressure that more children had died from abuse or neglect than earlier reported, new state statistics show the disturbing high rate has continued, reports the Chicago Tribune. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services reports that 87 of the 210 child deaths investigated during the fiscal year that ended June 30 involved credible evidence of abuse or neglect. With 29 similar fatalities still awaiting an official ruling, Illinois appears likely to again tally one of the highest totals since the state began tracking the statistic in 1981.
DCFS also released an updated total for the previous fiscal year, which showed a record 111 child fatalities tied to mistreatment, with two additional deaths still under investigation. The information was released this week after repeated requests from the Tribune, which sought the child death data after the agency removed it last winter from its online statistical summaries. DCFS removed the information “temporarily” after launching a review “to address concerns surrounding data collection and the efficacy of our accounting system,” a spokeswoman said.