State Agency Concedes Missteps Before Toddler’s Death In Joliet Township

(CBS) — A month after toddler Semaj Crosby’s death, the state’s child-welfare agency has released new insight into her life.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services released the 22-page report Friday.

Semaj was found dead in a Joliet Township home a month ago, shortly after family members reported the girl missing April 25. Her body was found underneath a couch, and an autopsy proved inconclusive.

One of the topics in the report: what’s referred to as the “cognitive limitations” of Semaj’s mother. These limitations were never addressed by DCFS caseworkers, the report says.

Once, the report says, Semaj’s mother told a caseworker she only had two sons and that the youngest two children, including Semaj, were the children of another woman in the home — in reality, Semaj’s aunt.

On another visit, a caseworker reports seeing Semaj’s mother sweeping “debris from the floor into a corner of the house.”

Also, according to the report, three adults living in the home had been named previously as “alleged perpetrators in child protection investigations.”

The report makes several mentions of one of Semaj’s siblings: a 7-year-old with suicidal tendencies.

Semaj’s mother reportedly refused to take him to the hospital or refill his psychotropic medication.

DCFS concludes in the report that caseworkers did not make an effort to adequately address problems.

The home where Semaj was condemned after the girl’s death; authorities said conditions were squalid. The vacant house burned to the ground May 6.

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