Youngster welfare authorities on Friday launched a four-page abstract of the company’s contact with AJ’s dad and mom, Andrew Freund Sr., 60, and JoAnn Cunningham, 36.
The DCFS abstract revealed a litany of kid welfare hotline calls about AJ’s troubled homelife, stories of squalid residing situations and drug abuse by his dad and mom. When AJ was born on October 13, 2013, mom and youngster examined constructive for opiates. The boy was faraway from the house however returned eight months later after his father and mom took parenting courses and entered a drug remedy program.
In December, the boy instructed a physician that the household canine induced a big bruise on his hip. However the doctor let a DCFS investigator know that AJ additionally instructed him, “Possibly somebody hit me with a belt. Possibly mommy did not imply to harm me,” in keeping with the company.
In January, the case was closed for lack of proof. Seven months earlier, one other investigation right into a report of “odd bruising” on AJ’s face was additionally closed. The company decided the report back to be unfounded.
Final week, DCFS acquired one more hotline name alleging neglect and insufficient supervision on the house. The decision got here on the identical day AJ’s dad and mom reported him lacking. Info from the couple in the end led to the restoration of his physique in Woodstock, about 10 miles from their house in Crystal Lake, police mentioned.
DCFS mentioned it was reviewing its dealing with of circumstances involving AJ’s household. A caseworker and supervisor have been positioned on administrative responsibility with no casework obligations throughout the evaluation. The company mentioned it should additionally evaluation all circumstances dealt with by the 2 staff.
“As we transfer ahead, we might be absolutely clear with the general public as we search to handle any attainable shortcomings on this incident and perceive how we are able to higher serve the state’s weak kids and households,” DCFS mentioned within the abstract launched Friday.
This is what we all know concerning the division’s interplay with AJ’s household, primarily based on the DCFS abstract of its information, stories and paperwork:
June 7, 2012 — DCFS acquired a hotline name alleging insufficient supervision: Cunningham was accused of abusing prescribed drugs and neglecting her foster youngster. The report was unfounded and expunged.
December 24, 2012 — One other hotline name alleged “environmental neglect and injurious atmosphere,” referring to Cunningham’s eldest son, who’s now 18 and lives with one other household. She was accused of abusing prescribed drugs and having psychological well being points. The report was unfounded and expunged.
October 16, 2013 — A hotline report alleged “substance misuse by neglect” after Cunningham gave beginning to AJ two days earlier. The boy and his mom examined constructive for opiates and benzodiazepines. AJ was faraway from his mom’s house throughout the investigation.
November 12, 2013 — DCFS took protecting custody of AJ.
November 14, 2013 — A juvenile court docket granted DCFS momentary custody of AJ. The Youth Service Bureau of Illinois supplied providers to the boy and his dad and mom.
The couple participated in parenting courses, drug remedy and methadone upkeep and particular person counseling.
June 2015 — A choose ordered AJ returned to his mom.
June 2015 to March 2016 — A Youth Service Bureau employee made 17 unannounced visits to the house. The employee didn’t observe indicators of abuse or neglect.
June 2015 to April 2016 — A Youth Service Bureau employee made 9 scheduled visits to the house. No indicators of abuse or neglect had been noticed.
April 2016 — AJ’s juvenile court docket case was closed.
March 21, 2018 — A hotline report alleged “substantial danger of bodily damage/injurious atmosphere and atmosphere neglect” towards AJ’s dad and mom. The report mentioned Cunningham was delivered to an emergency room after being discovered unresponsive in a automobile. AJ was noticed on the hospital with “odd bruising on his face.”
March 2018 to April 2018 — A DCFS investigator contacted the dad and mom thrice in unsuccessful makes an attempt to see the youngsters.
April 25, 2018 — A toddler welfare investigator met with Cunningham, AJ and his youthful brother. Cunningham was interviewed whereas the boys performed within the driveway of the house. An investigator noticed the boys to be clear and located no indicators of maltreatment
Could 17, 2018 — An investigator accomplished a ultimate security evaluation of the house. The boys had been clear and dressed appropriately. Cunningham reported a historical past of drug use and mentioned she was in drug remedy. The house was clear, neat and adequately furnished.
Could 18, 2018 — An investigator verified Cunningham’s participation in drug remedy. The March report was unfounded and the investigation closed.
December 18, 2018 — A hotline report alleged “environmental neglect as to each boys and cuts, welts and bruises” on AJ. After being known as to the house, police noticed a big bruise on AJ’s hip. Police reported the “ceiling falling down, the ground torn up, and the youngsters’ bed room smelled of canine urine.” Cunningham was arrested for driving on a suspended license. The boys had been positioned in protecting custody.
A DCFS investigator interviewed the boys. The youthful brother wouldn’t discuss to the investigator. The kid appeared wholesome and effectively cared for. AJ mentioned he acquired the bruise when the household canine pawed him.
Cunningham instructed the investigator they had been transforming the house. She admitted to the presence of canine feces in the home.
She was bailed out and requested to be examined for medication. The boys had been returned house.
An emergency room doctor couldn’t decide how AJ’s damage occurred, saying it might have been attributable to “a canine, belt or a soccer.”
However the physician was involved that AJ mentioned “perhaps somebody hit me with a belt. Possibly mommy did not imply to harm me.” The daddy picked up the youngsters on the hospital. He was requested to stay within the house as a security precaution.
December 19, 2018 — An investigator carried out an unannounced house go to. The lounge and eating room had been cluttered with garments and toys. The kitchen was clear. The ground was lacking tile. The ceiling was intact. The investigator sensed a slight odor of canine urine. No feces or urine was noticed on the ground. The daddy denied any corporal punishment. He mentioned Cunningham was not utilizing medication.
December 20, 2018 — A DCFS investigator spoke with a earlier investigator about her case and findings.
January 4, 2019 — The kid welfare company decided that the allegation of “cuts, welt and bruises” was unfounded as a result of lack of proof.
January 18, 2019 — Police had been known as to the house. AJ was reported lacking and DCFS acquired a hotline report that alleged environmental neglect and insufficient supervision. Police noticed the house to have “ripped up flooring, meals mendacity round and garments/rubbish all over the place.”
DCFS took protecting custody of AJ’s youthful brother. He was positioned with a licensed foster guardian. The boy appeared wholesome and confirmed no apparent seen indicators of abuse or neglect throughout a medical examination.
April 24, 2019 — Police discovered AJ’s physique. They arrested Cunningham and AJ’s father for homicide and different expenses associated to his dying.