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updated: 6/20/2013 4:07 PM

Audit: DCFS case backlog biggest since 2006

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- A state agency that reviews child abuse claims missed a deadline to investigate cases nearly 900 times in 2012, according to a review by the Illinois Auditor General.

The audit of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services showed 884 of roughly 65,000 allegations missed the 60-day deadline required for officials to begin and complete an abuse allegation. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that's up from 115 cases the previous year and is the biggest backlog since 2006.

"Failure to make timely determinations of reports of abuse and neglect could delay the implementation of a service plan and result in further endangerment of the child," Holland wrote in the audit.

Dave Clarkin, a spokesman for DCFS, said 99.6 percent of cases had an investigation initiated within the 60-day window. He said the current backlog is about 300 cases.

The audit also said death reviews were tardy.

About 70 percent of the 85 death reviews in 2012 were conducted an average of 158 days after the close of an investigation. They're required to be performance in 90 days.

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