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State agency cuts drug testing to stretch shrinking budget

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in Hiring,Human Resources

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has stopped conducting drug tests on job applicants as a cost-cutting measure.

DCFS introduced the drug tests in February 2008 for all applicants for jobs that involved direct contact with children and families. The tests cost $23.50 apiece, totaling roughly $70,000 annually.

Officials say the testing eliminated about 60 substance abusers who sought jobs at DCFS in 2008. DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe said the agency would try to resume the testing as soon as sufficient funds were available.

The council that accredits child welfare agencies, including DCFS, supports random drug testing over universal testing, noting that running tests on every applicant is costly, not entirely effective and, in some states, illegal.

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