- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A child welfare organization in Springfield has put its chief executive officer on paid administrative leave after state officials reinstated a ban on new admissions to the facility, citing child safety.

The Hope Institute for Children and Families said Tuesday that CEO Karen Foley will be replaced for the time being by chief financial officer Clint Paul. The chairman of Hope’s board, Springfield dentist Joshua Renken, said the facility “remains committed to the health, safety and well-being of all children in its care.”

The $42 million-a-year organization is financed largely with state money. It serves children and young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities and employs about 700 people statewide.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services ban started Sept. 19. It comes after a previous ban from December through August that was based on a previous investigation into child abuse and neglect, according to The (Springfield) State Journal Register (https://bit.ly/1rLK5o5 ).

“DCFS also has increased monitoring activities to twice a week, during high-activity times and including some weekend hours,” agency spokeswoman Karen Hawkins said.

Hawkins said the previous hold was lifted “based on our finding that Hope was in substantial compliance with corrective-action plans put in place.”

The institute’s statement didn’t say why Foley was put on leave and Hawkins did not detail what led to the agency’s new concerns. Foley did not have a listed home telephone number.

Hope Institute spokesman Mark Schmidt said the facility will install an electronic information system to improve communication with state agencies.

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com


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