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DCFS staffers removed from duties following suspicious Uptown neighborhood death of 8-year-old Amaria Osby: officials

Two state child welfare workers were removed from their duties following the suspicious death of 8-year-old Amaria Osby late last month in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, allegedly at the hands of her mother, officials said.

The worker, an investigator and a supervisor, didn’t try hard enough to see Amaria and her family after a hotline call alleged Amaria had witnessed her parents involved in a domestic violence incident in March of 2022, according to DCFS.

That altercation triggered a new probe which ended tragically on May 25, when Amaria’s body was found at her Uptown neighborhood home, lying next to her mother, Andreal Hagler, who allegedly asphyxiated her, Cook County prosecutors said.

Two staffers were at fault, said DCFS spokesman Bill McCaffrey.

“Contrary to DCFS policies, the investigator in this case did not continue to make attempts to see the family,” said McCaffrey.

“Both the supervisor and the investigator are not performing child protection duties at this time and the Department is determining the appropriate personnel action,” McCaffrey said.

A chilling timeline described the restaurant hotline report saying law enforcement responded, made no arrest and did not press changes related to the incident.

The next day an investigator made a “good faith attempt” to visit the child victim and family without success, according to the timeline.

Two months went by without any visits at all until May 24, when an investigator visited the family and spoke with the mother and the child. There were “no noted concerns” for physical abuse or neglect, according to the timeline.

The next day Amaria was found dead.

An autopsy determined the cause of her death was multiple injuries from an assault, and it was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

After her mother was charged with her murder, prosecutors at Hagler’s bond hearing said she thought Amaria didn’t love her anymore and loved her father “more.”

After drinking bleach, Hagler, who was denied bail, told her daughter it was “their time to go” and placed a plastic bag over her head, asphyxiating her before placing one over her own head, prosecutors said.

Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert believes DCFS’s violations may have caused Amaria’s death.

“Under DCFS own regulations, the investigator is required to make contact with the child within 24 hours though the first report of abuse or neglect. If that is not successful, the investigator is required to continue to attempt to see the child every day, including weekends and holidays until they actually see the child,” Golbert said.

The workers are “specifically required” to try places like schools and day care as well as their home.

“If the investigator is not successful in seeing the child within five days, there is supposed to be a special level of supervisory to review the case,” according to Golbert.

None of these regulatory requirements to ensure the child was safe happened, Golbert contended.

“In this case, all of these requirements were violated by DCFS. And that may well have resulted in Amaria’s death.”

At a minimum the case “cried out” for a “protected plan” for Amaria, Golbert said.

“If that had happened back in March, when DCFS first got this report, the outcome might have been very different for Amaria, but we’ll never know for sure because DCFS did nothing, absolutely nothing, for two months.”

The restaurant incident was not the first time DCFS had contact with the family.

The agency initially became involved in 2017, when Amaria was 3, after a hotline call about a DUI accusation involving Hagler.

Their investigation ended up with Hagler “indicated” or confirmed for neglect, according to DCFS.

Amaria was entered into a “safety plan,” and the case was closed in Nov. of 2017 after investigators visited the family multiple times and spoke with the mother and the child, finding “no noted concerns for physical abuse or neglect.”

For the next several months, Hagler participated in substance abuse treatment and community service, according to DCFS. Besides a seizure Amaria had that sent to her a hospital for three days in Feb. of 2018, DCFS completed their final home visit in March of 2018.

According to Golbert, Amaria’s death marked the sixth child to die since Dec., despite DCFS involvement with family.

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