Two Illinois Department of Family Children Services employees were relieved from their duties on Friday, while officials continue to investigate the workers’ past interactions with slain boy A.J. Freund and his family.
According to DCFS, the agency is “conducting a comprehensive review of our work” with the family of the 5-year-old boy, who was found dead earlier this week, wrapped in a plastic bag and buried in a shallow grave in Woodstock, Illinois.
A.J.’s parents, Andrew Freund Sr., 60, and JoAnn Cunningham, 36, have been charged with the child’s murder on Wednesday. A week prior, DCFS released over 60 pages of reports in connection to A.J.’s welfare, and although the reports indicated possible neglect and abuse, the boy remained in the family’s Crystal Lake home.
“Both the caseworker and the supervisor responsible for this case have been placed on administrative duty and will have no casework responsibilities as this review takes place,” DCFS spokesman Jassen Strokosch said in a statement, according to FOX 32. “DCFS will also be reviewing all cases that have been handled by these two employees.”
Marc D. Smith, the agency’s new director, is planning to speak on Friday about the issues before the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee. Head of the House Adoption and Child Welfare Committee, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, said that Smith should prepare himself for fierce questioning regarding several child deaths in Illinois, that occured when DCFS was involved.
Meanwhile, Smith is seeking 126 added staff members for DCFS, according to CBS 3. He stated many other improvements are needed in addition to the staff.
The names of DCFS workers involved in A.J. case have not been disclosed.
A.J. Freund DCFS Timeline by on Scribd
A.J. Freund Coverage
[Feature Photo: A.J. Freund/Handout]