Mourning a hero: AFSCME statement on DCFS employee Deidre Silas
DCFS investigator Deidre Silas, a member of AFSCME Local 805, was murdered while responding to a report of children in danger in the town of Thayer, outside Springfield on January 4, 2022. Below is a statement on this tragic loss from AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch:
"We are heartbroken at the loss of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigator and AFSCME member Deidre Silas of Springfield, murdered Tuesday while responding to a report of children in danger.
"The perpetrator of this unspeakable crime must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
"Deidre dedicated her career to helping young people. Prior to joining DCFS in August 2021 she worked in behavioral health and for more than seven years with the Department of Juvenile Justice where she was a union steward.
"This tragedy is a stark reminder that frontline DCFS employees like Deidre do demanding, dangerous and essential jobs every day, often despite inadequate resources and tremendous stress.
"AFSCME will carefully study the facts of this incident as they emerge and press for any necessary changes to DCFS operations. One death in the line of service is too many.
"Our union is providing support to Deidre’s coworkers to help them process this trauma and aid their grieving.
"The hearts and thoughts of every AFSCME member are with Deidre’s loved ones, especially her children, in the wake of their profound and senseless loss. In her name we rededicate ourselves to our vigilant advocacy to improve workplace safety for all."