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Advocacy groups say child welfare agency’s progress too slow

CHICAGO (AP) _ A progress report filed in federal court shows that Illinois’ child welfare agency has slowly made “incremental” improvements, but concerns linger about the impact of the state’s budget impasse and a “revolving door” of leadership.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and outside experts are monitoring progress the Department of Children and Family Services makes in several areas, including helping children with psychological, emotional and behavioral problems. The 300-plus page report filed this month covers February through March and is part of a longtime consent decree aimed at improving care.

Attorneys are expected in court Tuesday for a hearing about the progress.

Outside experts worry improvements will be hindered if the impasse continues and by the resignation of Director George Sheldon, the sixth DCFS leader since 2013.