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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES: Andrew "A.J." Freund Timeline

Community

By Press release submission | Apr 27, 2019

Courthammer

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services issued the following announcement on April 26.

The Department of Children and Family Services would like to provide a clear timeline of its involvement with the family of Andrew "A.J." Freund, whose body was recovered by law enforcement on April 24, 2019.

NOTE: The information included below reflects the department's current understanding of records, reports, and documents available to us at this time. Our investigation remains ongoing.

FAMILY

Andrew Freund Jr. (AJ)              age 5 (deceased)

Younger Brother                         age 4 Brother

Older Brother                              age 18 resides with a different family

JoAnn Cunningham                    age 36 Mother

Andrew Freund Sr.                     age 60 Father of AJ and Younger Brother

OVERVIEW - PREVIOUS HISTORY

The Department's first interaction with this family began in 2012, prior to Andrew's birth. JoAnn Summerkamp (maiden name Cunningham) mother of Andrew 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, JoAnn gave birth to Andrew Freund, whose toxicology screen tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines. Andrew was removed from his mother's care and DCFS was granted temporary custody of Andrew. He was placed with his cousin in what is called a relative foster home. At 18 months of age, the Court returned Andrew to his mother's care. In December of 2014, Andrew's younger brother was born and remained home with his mother JoAnn. In April 2016, the juvenile court closed Andrew's case and DCFS monitoring ceased.

In March, 2018, DCFS begins investigation into allegations of neglect by father and mother. The investigation is closed in May as unfounded and mother agrees to reenter treatment. In December 2018, DCFS begins an investigation into allegation of abuse and neglect against mother following the removal of Andrew from the home by law enforcement. Bruising of child is attributed to the dog and investigator determines there was no evidence to support deplorable conditions in the home. The investigation is closed in January as unfounded.

On April 18, 2019, AJ was reported missing. After a nearly week long search, AJ was found dead. During this time, AJ'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 our work with AJ's family. Both the caseworker and the supervisor responsible for this 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. As we move forward, we will be fully transparent with the public as we seek to address any possible shortcomings in this incident and understand how we can better serve the state's vulnerable children and families.

TIMELINE

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.

April, 2016 Andrew's juvenile court case is closed.

03/21/18    DCFS received a hotline report that alleged substantial risk of physical injury/injurious environment and environment neglect against the mother and father. The report alleged that the mother was brought to the emergency room after being found unresponsive in a car. Andrew was observed at the hospital to have odd bruising on his face.

DCFS investigator contacted the parents in unsuccessful attempt to see the children on 03/21/18, 3/29/18 and 4/9/18, 04/25/18 DCFS investigator met with JoAnn, Andrew and his younger brother. JoAnn was interviewed while the boys played outside in the driveway of the home. DCFS investigator observed the boys to be clean and did not find signs of maltreatment.

05/17/18    DCFS investigator completed a final safety assessment of the home. Both boys were observed clean and dressed appropriately. Mother reported a history of drug use and current drug treatment. The home was observed to be clean, neat and adequately furnished.

05/18/18    DCFS investigator verified mother's participation in a drug treatment program. The report from March, 2018 was unfounded and the investigation closed.

12/18/18    DCFS received a hotline report alleging environmental neglect as to both boys and cuts, welts and bruises as to Andrew. After being called to the home by the mother, police observed a large bruise on Andrew's hip. Police observed the ceiling falling down, the floor torn up, and the kids' bedroom smelled of dog urine. JoAnn was arrested for driving on a suspended license and Protective Custody was taken of both children.

12/18/18    DCFS investigator interviewed the boys at Crystal Lake Police Department. DCFS investigator attempted to engage the younger brother who would not talk to the investigator. The child appeared to be healthy and well cared for. Andrew was interviewed and reported that he received the bruise when the family dog pawed him. DCFS investigator interviewed JoAnn at the police station. She stated they were remodeling the home and did admit to dog feces and urine being present in the home. DCFS investigator asked her to take Andrew to Immediate Care after she was bailed out. The father presented to bond mother out. JoAnn requested to be tested for drugs. DCFS investigator ended Protective Custody and children were returned home.

12/18/18    ER Physician examined Andrew and could not state how his injury was caused. The doctor reported injury could have been caused by a dog, belt or a football. The doctor was concerned because Andrew stated that "maybe someone hit me with a belt. Maybe mommy didn't mean to hurt me." DCFS investigator contacted the father to pick the children up from hospital until the home environment can be assessed. The father was asked to remain in the home as a safety precaution.

12/19/18    DCFS investigator conducted an unannounced home visit. The home was observed. The living room and dining room were cluttered with clothes and toys. The kitchen was clean and the floor was missing tile. The ceiling was not falling and investigator sensed a slight odor of dog urine. No feces or urine was observed on the floor. The father reported to the investigator that he did pick the children up from the hospital last night. The father denied any corporal punishment and he denied mother using drugs.

12/20/18    DCFS investigator spoke with the past DCFS investigator regarding her case and findings.

01/04/19    DCFS unfounded the report due to lack of evidence for cuts, welt and bruises allegation.

04/18/19    The police were called to the home in response to Andrew being reported missing and DCFS received a hotline report alleging environmental neglect and inadequate supervision. Police observed the home to have ripped up floors, food lying around and clothes/garbage everywhere.

04/18/19    DCFS investigator arrived at the Crystal Lake Police Department and spoke with the police. Protective custody of younger brother was taken. The younger brother was placed with a licensed foster parent. The younger brother was examined by a medical professional, appeared healthy and showed no obvious visible signs of abuse or neglect.

04/24/19    Police found Andrew's body and arrested JoAnn and Andrew's father on charges of murder and other charges related to his death.

Original source can be found here.

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Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

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