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Public Newsroom #36: How to Report on Child Welfare in Illinois

  • Build Coffee 6100 South Blackstone Avenue Chicago, IL, 60637 United States (map)

Since 2011 Illinois Department of Child and Family Services has turned over nine directors, according to the Chicago Tribune ( The most recent exit by George Sheldon was preceded by a Tribune series investigating the deaths of three children in DCFS care ( Child welfare in Illinois can be one of the most complicated topics to report on and this week’s #PublicNewsroom is dedicated to unpacking it from various sides of the issue—including understanding family’s rights, trauma and more.

The evening will feature a small panel discussion from a leading direct service agent, a journalist, a young woman who’s gone through the system and a representative from the Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY). Afterward panelists and attendees will engage in small group activities. Participants will be generating a list of best practices for reporters who want to thoughtfully report on this topic as well as a series of tip sheets on how to navigate various parts of the child welfare system. These ideas and information will be shared out in a series of public Google documents. 

This event is part of City Bureau's #publicnewsroom programming, a series of free, weekly workshops and discussions aimed at building trust between journalists and the communities they serve while shaping a more inclusive newsroom. This week’s #publicnewsroom was co-designed by Illinois Humanities and Kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscope is a child welfare agency that has been serving youth and families affected by abuse and neglect in Chicago for 45 years. For more information or to get involved with Kaleidoscope, visit

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