CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will not release records related to its history with 8-year-old Amaria Osby following her death, allegedly by the hands of her mother, but a spokesperson with the agency did reveal a timeline regarding DCFS’ contacts with the family.
Charles Golbert with the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian spoke out Wednesday on Amaria’s death. Her mother, 38-year-old Andreal Hagler, is now charged with her daughter’s murder. Prosecutors say she confessed to killing the girl.
“Amaria is the sixth child to die in Illinois (since last December) despite DCFS’ involvement with the families,” Golbert said. “This case screamed out for intensive mental health services for the mother, for drug services for the mother and at least some type of protective supervision plan.”
Police found Amaria dead in her uptown apartment last Wednesday.
Police said they found the mother high on PCP with a bag around her head when they arrived. According to prosecutors, Hagler told officers she felt her daughter didn’t love her anymore and loved her father more. She said she put the bag over Amaria’s head similar to how she had placed it over her own head, prosecutors said
In a new timeline released by DCFS, WGN News learned the agency first made contact with the family in 2017, when Amaria was 3-years-old.
There was a child endangerment hotline report after Hagler was arrested and charged with a DUI.
The following month, Amaria was entered into a safety plan with a family member but returned to her mother. A caseworker said during a home visit that there were no signs of abuse or neglect.
In March of 2018, Hagler received substance abuse treatment through Intact Family Services. A caseworker had made 13 visits to the home in the previous six months, and the case was closed.
Fast forward to March 24 of this year, DCFS received a hotline report identifying Amaria as a victim of domestic violence at a restaurant.
Her mother was not arrested.
Records revealed that a caseworker failed to visit the Uptown home for two months. Investigators cited no concerns for abuse or neglect upon making contact two months later.
“When you have investigators laboring under untenable caseloads in an inept bureaucracy without the support they need, the ball is going to get dropped on investigations with tragic results like what happened here,” Goldbert said.
The public guardian told WGN News that DCFS has a current investigator vacancy rate of 21%, according to a consent decree. It’s supposed to be no more than 6%.
When WGN News asked DCFS to explain that two-month gap from March to May, a spokesman said that contrary to policies, the investigator, in this case, did not continue to make attempts to see the family. The spokesman added that the employee and a supervisor are not performing child protection duties at this time and the department is determining appropriate personnel action.