News Local/State

Illinois Looks For Reasons Behind Rise In Child Deaths


Illinois' child welfare agency says a spike in the number of children reported to have died of neglect might be the result of a change in reporting guidelines.

The Department of Children and Family Services says 104 children died of abuse or neglect in the 2013 fiscal year.

Seventy-four of those deaths were neglect cases. That's an increase that coincides with new department guidelines. Under the change, DCFS categorizes the deaths of children who suffocated while sleeping in bed with their parents as neglect if it can be proven parents were warned of the dangers of co-sleeping. That applies even if the parents had not consumed alcohol or drugs.

The agency's acting director, Denise Gonzales, announced the finding at a state senate committee hearing investigating the increase.