Child welfare director to face questions after boy's death

  • This combination of undated photos provided by the McHenry County Sheriff's Department in Woodstock, Ill., on Thursday, April 25, 2019 shows JoAnn Cunningham, left, and Andrew Freund Sr. The two have been charged in the murder of their five year-old son, Andrew "AJ" Freund. A criminal complaint filed Thursday, April 25, 2019, outlines first-degree murder, aggravated battery and several other charges against the couple. A judge set bail at $5 million for each parent. (McHenry County Sheriff's Department via AP)

    This combination of undated photos provided by the McHenry County Sheriff's Department in Woodstock, Ill., on Thursday, April 25, 2019 shows JoAnn Cunningham, left, and Andrew Freund Sr. The two have been charged in the murder of their five year-old son, Andrew "AJ" Freund. A criminal complaint filed Thursday, April 25, 2019, outlines first-degree murder, aggravated battery and several other charges against the couple. A judge set bail at $5 million for each parent. (McHenry County Sheriff's Department via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Updated 4/26/2019 8:22 AM

CHICAGO -- An Illinois lawmaker says the state's new child welfare director will face tough questions from a state House panel following the beating death of a 5-year-old boy who had extensive contact with child welfare workers.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Sara Feigenholtz says Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc D. Smith will be questioned Friday in Chicago about the agency's actions in the case of 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund. He was under the agency's watch when his badly beaten body was discovered Wednesday in a shallow grave in McHenry County.

 

His parents have been charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors allege the couple forced the boy to stand in a cold shower and beat him.

Feigenholtz is on the Appropriations-Human Services Committee, which is scheduled to hear budget requests from several state agencies, including DCFS.

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O'Connor reported from Springfield, Illinois.

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