The 21st Show

Troubles at DCFS

Department of Children and Family Services Building in Springfield.

Department of Children and Family Services Building in Springfield. Capitol News Illinois file photo

In January 2022, a 36-year-old DCFS case worker was killed during a home visit. Deidre Silas was checking on six children at the home, about 20 miles outside of Springfield, when she was stabbed to death. 32-year-old Benjamin Howard Reed, who lived at the home, has been charged with murder. Sadly, this isn’t the first time an Illinois DCFS caseworker has been killed while performing their job. In 2017, Pamela Knight was brutally beaten while attempting to remove an endangered child. She later died of her injuries.

The safety of the children in DCFS custody has also been questioned. For years, the agency has lacked an appropriate number of beds to house children, with reports of the kids even sleeping on the floor of offices. A Cook County judge recently found DCFS Director Marc Smith in contempt for the continued improper placement of two state wards.

To discuss what the agency can do to change and improve its protection of children and workers, we were joined by a public guardian and a child protection supervisor. The leadership of DCFS did not respond to our request to join our conversation. 


Charles Golbert

Public Guardian, Office of the Cook County Public Guardian

Arnold Black 

Child Protection Supervisor, Champaign Office



Prepared for web by Owen Henderson

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