The deaths of two young children in recent years bear some similarities. Parents of both AJ Freund and Sema’j Crosby had been contacted repeatedly by child-welfare workers. Both had been allowed to remain in the home despite sometimes squalid living conditions. Both died in the home. Why couldn’t the state’s child-welfare system protect these two children? Shaw Media Illinois will share what it has found in its investigating over the next few months, and share compelling stories of those affected by the child-welfare system.

Part 1: What does it take to remove a child from the home?

Column: Styf: System Failure looks to answer questions on DCFS and its processes

Jan. 2: "We, Illinois, must do better." DCFS Inspector General submits report; 123 children who came into contact with DCFS died within a year of contact with the organization.

Part 2: DCFS investigator's death, 500-plus hours of overtime haunt child welfare system

Podcast: Our System Failure podcast officially launched Jan. 30. Get it wherever you get your podcasts.

Part 3: Some health care providers say they will not accept children in the new managed care organization the state plans to roll out. Representatives from IlliniCare/YouthCare have been ineffective in gathering information, sometimes losing the results of hours-long phone screening interviews, a Shaw Media Illinois investigation found.

Feb. 11: A 14-year-old girl in the care of the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services was placed in ankle shackles for a five-hour drive to a treatment facility to Missouri, a DCFS spokesman confirmed.

Feb. 27: A sentencing hearing for the Crystal Lake mother who pleaded guilty to murdering her 5-year-old son AJ Freund is set to take place April 30.

Sept. 10: The McHenry County Sheriff's Office arrested two former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employees who were involved in the AJ Freund case on Thursday night