CHICAGO (WGN) -- The Department of Children and Family Services released a timeline Friday morning of its involvement with the family of 5-year-old Andrew “A.J.” Freund, whose body was found Wednesday in a shallow grave in Woodstock.
The timeline comes as DCFS Director Marc D. Smith is scheduled to be questioned in Chicago about the agency’s actions in the case of the 5-year-old boy from Crystal Lake, who was under the agency’s watch when he was discovered beaten to death.
According to DCFS, the agency’s first interaction with the family began in 2012, prior to Andrew’s birth. JoAnn Cunningham, Andrew’s mother, was a DCFS foster parent who had two prior unfounded cases in 2012. The first case was for Inadequate Supervision and the second case was for Risk of Harm and Environmental neglect.
In October 2013, Cunningham gave birth to Andrew, whose toxicology screen tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines. Andrew was removed from his mother’s care and DCFS was granted temporary custody of him. Andrew was then placed with his cousin, in what is called a relative foster home. At 18-months-old, the court returned Andrew in the care of Cunningham. In December of 2014, Andrew’s younger brother was born and remained home with his mother. In April 2016, the juvenile court closed Andrew’s case and DCFS monitoring ceased.
In March 2018, DCFS began investigation into allegations of neglect by his father and mother. The investigation was closed in May as unfounded and Cunningham agreed to reenter treatment. In December 2018, DCFS began an investigation into an allegation of abuse and neglect against Cunningham, following the removal of Andrew from the home by law enforcement. Bruising of Andrew was attributed to the dog and an investigator determined there was no evidence to support deplorable conditions in the home. The investigation was closed in January as unfounded.
On April 18, 2019, Andrew was reported missing. After a nearly week long search, he was found dead. During this time, Andrew’s younger brother was placed in DCFS custody. He is now in the care of his cousin, a relative foster home.
DCFS is currently conducting a comprehensive review of the agency’s work with Andrew’s family. Both the caseworker and the supervisor responsible for his case have been placed on administrative duty and will have no casework responsibilities as this review takes place. DCFS will also be reviewing all cases that have been handled by these two employees.
Below is a timeline provided by DCFS:
06/07/12 DCFS received a hotline call alleging inadequate supervision. The allegations were that JoAnn is abusing prescription drugs and neglecting her foster child. The report was unfounded and expunged.
12/24/12 DCFS hotline received a call alleging environmental neglect and injurious environment as to her oldest son. The report alleged JoAnn is abusing prescription drugs and has mental health issues. The report was unfounded and expunged.
10/16/13 DCFS received a hotline report alleging substance misuse by neglect, after JoAnn gave birth to Andrew on 10/14/13. Andrew and JoAnn tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines. The report was indicated for Substance Misuse. Andrew was removed from his mother’s care during the investigation.
11/12/13 DCFS takes protective custody of Andrew.
11/14/13 DCFS is granted temporary custody of Andrew in Juvenile Court. Youth Service Bureau of Illinois is assigned to provide services to the parents and Andrew.
JoAnn and Andrew’s father participated in parenting classes, drug treatment and continued to participate in methadone maintenance and individual counseling through a drug treatment program.
June, 2015 Judge orders Andrew returned to the custody of his mother.
Youth Service Bureau worker makes 17 unannounced visits to the parents’ home on 6/24/15, 7/1/15, 7/8/15, 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/9/15, 8/27/15, 9/1/15, 9/29/15, 10/4/15, 10/26/15, 12/17/15, 1/13/16, 1/21/16, 2/2/16, 2/25/16, and 3/11/16. The worker does not observe any signs of abuse or neglect.
Youth Service Bureau worker makes nine scheduled visits to the parents’ home on 6/13/15, 6/17/15, 7/7/15, 7/20/15, 9/9/15, 11/12/15, 12/3/15, 3/24/16 and 4/13/16. The worker does not observe any signs of abuse or neglect.
8/28/15 Worker is informed the father’s drug test was invalid.