DCFS has increasingly diverted families with issues of neglect or abandonment to probate court, a system typically reserved for guardianship cases that are less complex, according to a Tribune review of court documents and interviews with judges and lawyers.
Some judges and advocates said DCFS has steered these cases away in order to reduce its caseloads. Child-welfare officials, however, said they advise families to go to probate court only when their custody cases can be safely handled outside an overburdened state system. But even DCFS director Erwin McEwen concedes that some cases are going to the wrong court.
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