State officials announced today that Richard Calica, former director of the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, died early today.
Calica, 67, resigned from DCFS last month after being diagnosed with cancer. He said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune at the time that doctors had told him he had only months to live.
Calica came into the job at a difficult time for DCFS. The agency was violating a federal consent decree by having too few front line investigators and had awarded millions of dollars to contractors for work that could not be verified. Calica was a social worker for much of his career and served as executive director of the Chicago-based Jane Addams-founded Juvenile Protective Association. He oversaw a rebalancing of staff in an effort to come into compliance with the federal court order. That change added 138 new front line investigators and cut caseloads in half. “It has been the most exciting, rewarding and hopefully productive part of my career,” Calica told the Tribune after he stepped down.
“It is with great sadness today that we announce the passing of Richard Calica, a true public servant in the state of Illinois. Richard Calica was a dedicated advocate for our most vulnerable children. He always put their safety and well-being first,” Gov. Pat Quinn said in a prepared statement. “I send my condolences to Richard’s family and friends. They are in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult of times.”
For more on Calica, see this profile from Illinois Issues June 2012.