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2 DCFS employees fired in wake of AJ Freund murder; Acosta to file grievance

McHenry County Board member Carlos Acosta discusses the potential for a residential rebate from Valley Hi funding during a McHenry County Board meeting at the McHenry County Administrative Building on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Woodstock.
McHenry County Board member Carlos Acosta discusses the potential for a residential rebate from Valley Hi funding during a McHenry County Board meeting at the McHenry County Administrative Building on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Woodstock.

Carlos Acosta and his supervisor no longer are employed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, a spokesman confirmed Friday.

Child Protection Specialist and McHenry County Board member Carlos Acosta and his supervisor, Andrew Polovin, no longer are with DCFS, agency spokesman Jassen Strokosch confirmed.

Acosta was fired at 4:55 p.m. Thursday, the former longtime DCFS investigator said. He plans to file a wrongful termination grievance and have the matter reviewed by an independent arbitrator.

Strokosch declined to comment Friday on Acosta filing a wrongful termination grievance.

“I don’t think it’s fair, and I don’t think it’s just,” Acosta said.

Polovin couldn’t be reached for comment. Representatives for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union that represents some DCFS workers, could not be reached for comment Friday.

It was not clear how long the arbitration process could take.

Both former DCFS employees were involved in a 2018 investigation involving AJ Freund for allegedly ignoring signs of child abuse. Acosta and Polovin were placed on desk duty in April after AJ was reported missing. Six days after he was reported missing April 18, AJ was found dead.

AJ’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, 36, of Crystal Lake, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and faces up to 60 years in prison, while AJ’s father, Andrew Freund Sr., 60, still awaits trial.

As a salaried employee, Acosta expects to be paid for the work he performed through November. He has not been in the office since Monday.

“In the short term, I have to do like every other resident in the country and try to find a job with a living wage and affordable health care,” Acosta told the Northwest Herald on Friday.

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