On January 4, Deidre Silas, 36, an investigator with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was stabbed to death during a home visit. According to Kiro7News, Silas was conducting a welfare check on six children, ages 1 to 7, in the smalltown of Thayer, when she was attacked.
Authorities reportedly arrived at the scene and found what appeared to be blood near the door. Upon forced entry into the home, Silas was found dead inside. It is unclear whether the children witnessed the murder.
Shortly after, with a search warrant and collected evidence, police were able to locate Benjamin H. Reed, 32—who lived at the home—at a local hospital being treated for a cut on his hand. Authorities arrested and charged Reed with the murder of Silas. Reed is currently in custody with a bond set at $5 million.
Silas’ family described her as a go-getter who fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. She recently joined the department in August after working in the behavioral health field for seven years at the Department of Juvenile Justice. She is survived by her husband and two children.
The last investigator to be killed on duty was four year ago, according to DCFS Director Marc Smith. ABCNews7 reported, Smith said the agency trains its staff in how to approach various situations, including going into a volatile environment. Staff members decide whether to go alone, in pairs, or summon police protection.
Silas’ husband, Andre Silas’ shared his pain and frustration with news cameras, stating “There should be preventative measures in place, and if they can’t use my wife’s example to figure out what they need to do as far as getting that training, getting those protocols in place, then I don’t know what else needs to happen.” He continued, “Don’t take her death for granted. Use it for information and make sure you guys come up with something to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
A small movement forming on Facebook by child welfare professionals brings awareness to both Silas’ death and the flawed policies and procedures within the child welfare workplace.
Photos of just a pen and paper followed by varying hashtags #WeSupportDeidreGraham #WeSupportDeidreSilas, and #WeSupportDeidreSilasGraham have begun circulating, with the caption: Pen and paper is what your Child Welfare workers are provided with when they go to a home to investigate abuse and neglect. Today, I post this picture in honor of Deidre Silas, an Illinois CPS worker that was killed while conducting a home visit as part of her job. I ask that if you know a worker out doing this job to please post a picture of a pen and paper in support of them. People need to know the job being done to protect those who can’t protect themselves. You may use this picture if you need. Pray for the workers and the families they come into contact with everyday.
Donate to the Silas’ family GoFundMe here.