The caseloads for child protection investigators at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services are so high that they may violate a 1991 federal consent decree, which sets monthly limits on new cases given to investigators. The Chicago Tribune reports that child protection investigators are supposed to handle 24 cases at a time, but often handle at least 40. The caseloads have perhaps caused investigators to miss crucial warning signs clients might be in danger.
Like any other social service issue in Illinois today, the state's budget crisis hampers attempts to lessen caseloads. New DCFS Director Richard Calica wants to move department money around by freezing hiring in non-investigative positions and adding 125 investigators.