DCFS releases report that examined dead toddler's case file

CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services released a report Friday reviewing the agency's actions leading up to the death of a 1-year-old.

The report details who was living in a Joliet Township house at the time Semaj Crosby was found dead April 26. The girl's body was found under a couch after she was initially reported missing.

The report was undertaken after numerous inquiries about the case following Semaj's death.

Police have said the girl disappeared shortly after Department and Children and Family Services officials investigated a neglect allegation. Authorities, including a county judge, have questioned why the agency missed signs of trouble.

"DCFS's first step was to promise a review of its involvement with Semaj Crosby's family," state Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, said in a statement regarding the report. "Today's release of that review is the second step. I pray the review tells us what specific steps now need to be taken to strengthen families and protect young lives."

The report states Semaj's family's case came to the attention of DCFS in September 2016. The case files involved Crosby, her mother Sheri Gordon, father James Crosby, aunt Lakerisha Crosby and three siblings.

The report says that while allegations of inadequate supervision and drug use in the home were unfounded, an intact family case was opened. The action was taken to provide the family with "housing support and parenting assistance."

The report explained how Semaj's mother was described as "nurturing and caring toward her children." But her "potential cognitive and/or learning difficulties may have impacted her ability to ensure her children's health and mental health needs were adequately addressed," it said.

Gordon's 7-year-old son received special education services at a therapeutic day school because of a long history of emotional and behavioral difficulties. He was hospitalized three times since September 2016 for "suicidal ideation."