CHICAGO (CBS) — Two-year-old Ja’hir Gibbons was covered with new and old bruises when he was brought to the hospital Monday, where he died less than an hour later.
But the Department of Children and Family Services worker assigned to the case didn’t note the old bruises because it appears the employee initially lied in reports about actually seeing him.
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“This baby could have been saved,” said activist Andrew Holmes.
DCFS released the following statement and a timeline of interactions with Ja’hir:
Allegations of falsifying records and neglect of duty are sadly nothing new for DCFS.
CBS 2 combed through five years of Office of Inspector General reports and found 21 cases of employees caught falsifying records since 2014 and six cases of workers reported for “failing to properly investigate.”
Just last year, a child protection investigator resigned after falsifying visit records.
Last year charges were also filed against a private agency caseworker for forging his supervisor’s signature.
Between July 2017 and July 2018, the Inspector General investigated 98 cases of kids who died in the care of DCFS, of which 18 are considered homicides.
Sema’j Crosby, who was 17 months old, was found dead under a couch in a Joliet townhome in 2017. In August, it led to a lawsuit against DCFS alleging that workers failed to complete safety assessments and share vital records.
These types of allegations go back more than three decades.
In fact, the ACLU has monitored DCFS as part of a federal consent decree since 1991.
Still, in 1997 CBS 2 covered the death of a three-year-old boy on the city’s South Side that was eerily similar to that of the toddler who lost his life this week.
An autopsy revealed that the child’s ribs had been broken in the past. All of this came as a shock to DCFS.
Of the 21 cases of falsifying documents, DCFS complied with the Inspector General’s recommendations for discipline in most cases.