Bruce Rauner’s campaign has rolled out a new ad, titled “Just Children,” taking aim at deaths that occurred while they were in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.
“They were just children, our most vulnerable, with their whole lives ahead — lives cut short tragically, senselessly from abuse, neglect while in the care of Pat Quinn’s administration,” the ad says. “Incompetence or corruption? It doesn’t matter. Pat Quinn failed those who needed him most — and now he wants four more years.”
“If we had a governor who cared more about people than politics, maybe some of these kids would still be alive.” Rauner campaign spokesperson Mike Schrimpf told Capitol Fax.
A series of Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ reports last year that found that the number of children dying while being investigated or monitored by DCFS had been on the rise. Officials disputed the numbers, saying the increase in reported deaths is largely the result of a policy change in late 2011, when the agency started pressing its investigators to discipline parents whose children had died as a result of unsafe sleeping conditions.
Quinn’s campaign office is blasting the ad, calling it a “new low.”
“This is a false and malicious attempt to smear the Governor,” spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said in an emailed statement. “Bruce Rauner is well aware that the Department of Child and Family Services is an agency that intervenes in emergency life and death situations to save children who are most at risk for abuse and neglect. To imply the Governor is somehow responsible for the deaths of children in the horrific circumstances that this agency enters into while trying to save lives is despicable and a new low. The cynical irony of Bruce Rauner’s false ad is that it’s his budget plan that would cut deny DCFS the resources necessary to fulfill its vital mission.”