CHICAGO (CBS) — A CBS 2 inquiry sparked by an investigation into spending on suspended Chicago Public School employees led to some surprising statistics from Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services.
How often does DCFS determine allegations submitted by Chicago Public Schools are unfounded? We know of multiple cases where a suspended CPS employee is cleared by DCFS but stays on paid leave for months after the DCFS finding. A previous CBS 2 report found CPS pays hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to suspended employees each week.
Once a school employee learns of an allegation of improper behavior by a teacher against a student, the school is required by law to contact DCFS.
The CBS 2 Morning Insiders learned that DCFS closed 10,669 cases reported from schools located in Chicago between 2016 and the beginning of September of this year. This includes CPS and private institutions. DCFS was not able to provide data that separated CPS from private school cases.
Only 15.8 percent of the cases coming out of schools in Chicago were determined to be founded during that time period.
That means more than 84 percent of reports were unsubstantiated.
That also means DCFS is closing almost 11 cases a day on average – for complaints coming out of Chicago alone.
State statute requires DCFS make a determination on an investigation within 60 days unless there is good cause to extend that period.
A DCFS spokesperson said examples of good cause include requests by law enforcement to delay determinations because of criminal investigation, pending medical or autopsy reports, cases that involve out-of-state investigations and reports that include multiple victims that require more time to gather evidence.
CPS doesn’t follow that timeline requirement.
CPS’ Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson says any perceived delays are worth it.
“If it means spending extra money while employees are out to ensure that our students are safe, that’s a commitment that I’m willing to make,” Jackson said.