Attorney: Illinois DCFS investigators swamped with abuse, neglect cases

CHICAGO (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union says investigators assigned to look into the well-being of an Illinois boy beaten to death were overloaded with other child abuse cases.

ACLU attorney Heidi Dalenberg told a federal judge Department of Children and Family Service investigators assigned to AJ Freunds’ case were juggling caseloads exceeding limits set forth in a federal consent decree governing the child welfare agency.

Related: Here’s what life was like for the 5-year-old Illinois boy found in a shallow grave

The disclosure came during a hearing about the decree, which was initiated by the ACLU in 1988. The decree mandates investigators shouldn’t be assigned more than 153 new cases per year, with limits of 12 to 15 per month.

Click here to see what the director of DCFS had to say about the Freund case

Dalenberg told U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonso one investigator exceeded the limit of cases for nine of 12 months in 2018.

AJ Freund’s parents, 36-year-old JoAnn Cunningham and 60-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund Sr., have been charged with murder.

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