DCFS timeline: 10-month investigation before toddler's murder

    Nearly 3-year-old girl, Ta'naja Barnes, died Monday, Feb. 11. (WICS)

    According to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, they opened up an investigation into neglect allegations in late 2017.

    "We couldn't control and protect those children to make sure they were safe in the home,” said Nora Harms-Pavelski, DCFS deputy director of child protection. “So, in turn, they ended up being removed from their family home and placed into foster care."

    According to DCFS, in December of 2017, officials placed Ta'Naja and her younger brother into foster care.

    DCFS said in March 2018, they returned the children to Twan'ka.

    After placing the child back in the home, DCFS began its aftercare program.

    "We insure that the home is appropriate and we continue to do home visits with the family,” Harms-Pavelski said.

    DCFS said the aftercare program usually lasts three to six months but can be extended.

    For this case, it ended in October 2018 when a judge awarded Twan’ka custody again.

    Once the judge signs off, DCFS is no longer involved in the case and has no legal connection to the family.

    "They only way we would ever come back to that family's life is if another investigation had been made and there were no investigations made that we received from October, the time this case closed, until the current investigation now,” Harms-Pavelski said.

    According to the father, Dartavius Barnes, he did file complaints with DCFS but NewsChannel 20 hasn't been able to verify those claims.

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