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Rountree calls for change at DCFS, agency responds

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The mother of Rica Rountree, the Bloomington 8-year-old who was murdered by her father's girlfriend in January of 2019, protested outside the Bloomington DCFS office on Monday. She called for changes to be made within the agency.

Anntionetta Rountree lost custody of her child after a drug raid at her home. The mother, who served two and half years in prison for forgery and DUI charges has admitted in the past that she failed her daughter, Rica. But she said she was not the only one that failed, citing the numerous times DCFS visited Rica when she was staying at her father's home.

"They're still barely doing their jobs, they are a mediocre agency, doing mediocre work, I don't see any changes in the work they are doing," said Rountree.

Rountree said the agency put too much trust in Rica's father, Richard Rountree, and his girlfriend, Cynthia Baker.

"There has to be something place to make sure that when kids are being investigated or when there are signs of abuse, that they find out if the child is abused, taking an abuser's word for it, that's just not okay for me," added Anntionetta.

Illinois' Department of Children and Family Services says they're not at fault, but have made changes.

“DCFS remains deeply saddened by the death of Rica Rountree and is committed to doing everything in our power to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. The department has taken several steps to better serve vulnerable children and families, including providing additional training for more than 3,200 staff to help identify safety issues. DCFS takes every precaution to protect children and will continue its efforts to ensure those we serve can lead safe and healthy lives.”

Email statement from Deputy Director Bill McCaffrey

Richard Rountree was sentenced to eight years in prison for child endangerment. Cynthia Baker, who was convicted of killing 8-year-old Rica in November of 2019, is currently seeking a new trial. Anntionetta said Baker does not deserve another chance.

"Rica didn't have a voice at all, Rica didn't, nobody listened to her, nobody cared about her rights or her life, because it's gone now," said Anntionetta.

Andy Weber

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