‘Nothing short of a complete overhaul of DCFS will do’

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Ja’hir Gibbons | Provided

When I heard the news of the torturous beating death of 2-year-old Ja’hir Gibbons, I could not help but think, “Here we go again.”

As a 40-year veteran, retired registered nurse — 10 of those years in pediatrics taking care of sick and abused children — I cannot say that I was shocked by the news. I was, however, dismayed that after decades of vulnerable children and families having to deal with the calcified, bureaucratic morass that is the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, nothing has changed. Nothing!

To Gov. J.B. Pritzker, you inherited a mess at the most troubled agency in this state. Nothing short of a complete overhaul of DCFS will do.

A contractor reportedly hired a caseworker who would left a child in a home, though the caseworker reportedly had heard the child being hit. Then the caseworker reportedly falsified a report after the child’s death. That contractor has to go. Heads need to roll.

How many more kids have to die? What’s the threshold? At what point do the lives of Ja’hir and children like him begin to matter?

To be clear, no one is more responsible for Ja’hir’s death than the man who tortured and beat him.

We know the problem. We also know the solution.

DCFS cannot serve and protect kids and their families on the cheap. Dead children are the result of a penny-wise and pound-foolish approach that has been used these years. Our new governor must change course, and quickly, before we are right back here again and again.

Pamela J. Johnson, Indiana 

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Chicago, focus on real issues, not Smollett

The Jussie Smollett case continues to be one of the least important stories in Chicago.

Everyone involved needs to pay attention to events of actual significance. Innocent people are killed in our city every day. Corruption occurs at the top levels of our government and businesses. Those stories need the attention that the media, our elected officials and the Chicago Police Department have heaped on this nonsense.

The excuse is that this actor and his actions made our city look bad. Chicago doesn’t need Smollett’s help as we are perfectly capable of looking bad on our own. Focusing on what is important is one way to correct that.

Don Anderson, Oak Park 

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