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AG rules DCFS improperly withheld information

Governor JB Pritzker responds to question over DCFS withholding information from NewsChannel 20. (WICS)
Governor JB Pritzker responds to question over DCFS withholding information from NewsChannel 20. (WICS)
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The Office of the Attorney General has ruled that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) improperly withheld information from NewsChannel 20.

In April, NewsChannel 20 asked DCFS for the "names of DCFS and private agency employees who had their Child Welfare employee Licenses revoked, suspended, or relinquished, or have pending charges filed in FY2018."

We also asked for the charges they were or are currently facing, along with information describing any charges the employees may have faced since being licensed.

DCFS failed to give us the proper records.

NewsChannel 20 filed a request for review with the Office of the Attorney General.

On August 12, the Attorney General's Office ruled that DCFS "improperly withheld certain information from records provided in response" to our FOIA request.

The ruling goes on to say Illinois law "clearly and unambiguously states that the board's final administrative actions concerning licensees are public information." You can read the full ruling below.

We confronted Governor JB Pritzker with this information. Here was his response:

In our Freedom of Information Act Request, we did ask for the identities of employees who had pending license charges.

The Illinois Attorney General ruled that DCFS can withhold that until a final decision has been made.

But in regards to the other information we requested, the Attorney General wrote, “this office requests that DCFS provide Ms. Espinosa with the names and case numbers of licensees who have had their Direct Child Welfare Employee Licenses revoked or suspended in the time period outlined in the FOIA request.”

Hours after receiving the ruling, DCFS sent one document regarding employee licenses.

We are currently reviewing the document.

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