SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, is working to reform oversight of state agencies, such as the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), by ensuring that the inspector general’s office within each entity is fully independent from its department head.
“Given what has recently happened at DCFS, we must have a serious discussion about whether inspectors general have the necessary resources and autonomy to oversee their department’s actions,” Crespo said. “This is a necessary reform that will ensure state agencies are fully transparent, ensuring legislators and taxpayers can hold them accountable.”
Crespo is leading the charge on House Bill 1565, which would create an independent appropriation for the office of the inspector general within each of the following departments:
- Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS);
- Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS);
- Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS); and
- Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
Currently, the inspector general for each of these bodies relies on the agency they are supposed to oversee for their budget, which raises potential conflicts of interests about its autonomy. DCFS has currently come under heavy scrutiny for its failures to safeguard children. Under Crespo’s legislation, the DCFS inspector general would have independent resources to investigate and oversee any misconduct or mismanagement within the agency.
“We are less effective if protections are not in place to ensure against interference by our ‘host’ agency,” Department of Children and Family Services Acting Inspector General, Meryl Paniak said. “Inspector general independence is crucial for our ability to provide objective and uncompromised reviews of our agencies.”
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