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Archive for the ‘Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ Category

Trial of Former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Employees Charged in Connection to Child’s Death will Continue Mid-October

A McHenry County State’s Attorney criminally charged two former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) child protection specialists with endangering the life of a child and health of a minor.  Before 2019, when 5-year-old AJ Freund was found in a shallow grave, DCFS received at least 10 prior hotline calls concerning the care the child’s parents were giving.


State Senator’s Legislation Reinforcing DCFS’ Permanency Goals to Protect Child Welfare Passes the Senate

Recently introduced House Bill 3705 amends the Illinois’ Children and Family Services Act to reinforce the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services’ (DCFS) duty to children in foster care as well as its responsibility for placing youth in permanent family homes through guardianship or adoption (as opposed to adoptive homes) when restoration to the biological family is not safe, possible or otherwise appropriate. Proper placements are crucial in preventing foster child abuse, child sexual abuse, and child neglect.


Judge Strikes Qualified Immunity for Illinois Child Abuse Offenders and DCFS

A federal lawsuit recently held child abuse pediatricians, hospitals, and the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) accountable for their actions with regard to situations involving Illinois child welfare.  In his recent ruling, Judge Joe B. McDade of the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, denied the motion to dismiss filed by Dr. Channing Petrak, thereby establishing that she does not have qualified immunity.


The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) placed a child sexual assault victim into the care of a pimp with a lengthy criminal history

DCFS licensed a three-time convicted felon as a foster parent and subsequently placed a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim into his care.  DCFS placed the girl with the 24-year-old pimp, Erick Johnson, just months after he was released from federal prison after a 24-month sentence on a firearms charge.  Before that, Johnson spent three years in state prison for two robbery convictions.  Despite all that, he passed placement clearance and was approved by DCFS to become a foster parent.  While the child was in his care,  he profited from tax money as a foster parent while he forced the juvenile into prostitution by putting up an advertisement on a known sex website.  The girl has been raped, trafficked, abused, beaten up , and she has been shot, leaving a bullet in her leg.  Nearly a year ago, a DCFS hired psychologist told the child welfare agency that the girl needed to be in a “secure residential treatment sex trafficking program.”  However, the girl has not received the treatment she needs for the trauma the agency’s carelessness caused.


Federal class action lawsuit alleging that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) continually lacks placements for and has willfully and wrongly incarcerated hundreds of children in its care

Despite three decades of litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union, broken promises, court orders, news reports, and letters from informed officials, DCFS continually lacks placements for children in its care, forcing some foster children to be wrongfully incarcerated.  The recent lawsuit seeks to represent all individuals placed in DCFS care since Jan. 1, 2018, that spent at least seven consecutive days incarcerated after a court order for their release upon request.  The plaintiffs estimated the class includes “well over 100 children.”  The suit named DCFS Director Marc Smith, assistant deputy directors Lauren Williams and Ryan Goodwin, as well as former directors and senior agency officials as defendants.  The lawsuit demands a jury trial and requests plaintiffs be awarded compensatory damages, costs and attorneys’ fees as well as punitive damages from the individual defendants named in the suit.


Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith Held in Contempt of Court Yet Again for Lack of Placements for Foster Children After a Youth Spent More than Half a Year in a Psychiatric Hospital Beyond Medical Necessity

Judge Patrick Murphey took a hardline approach to DCFS’ inability to create or find proper placements for youth in foster care by issuing countless orders throughout 2022 that held Director Marc Smith in contempt of court.  The basis for the twelfth contempt of court order involved a 15-year-old girl who was cleared to be released from a psychiatric hospital on January 14, 2022. Yet, by March 5, 2022, DCFS failed to find an appropriate placement for the minor.  During a hearing on May 12, 2022, DCFS assured the court that the minor would be placed by the middle of June.  However, by the beginning of July, the youth still had not been released from the psychiatric hospital, losing months of her life.


BND: Foster parents want justice for child who died after IL DCFS removed him from their care

Chicago, IL foster care child abuse law firms have been following the devasting news about the death of two-year-old Hunter Drew. After the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services took protective custody from Hunter’s mom, he was placed with his aunt and uncle. Despite several improvements to his health and well-being since the move, Hunter was again moved to his dad’s and stepmom’s home about two months before his stepmom was accused of child abuse which allegedly led to his passing.

Read more about this sad case of foster child death and child abuse here.

Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic, over 2,700 Children Came into the Custody of Illinois’ Already Struggling Child Welfare System

A year and a half into the Covid-19 Pandemic, the existing problems with Illinois’ child welfare system have worsened. In April 2020, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received only 47% of the calls it did in April 2019. This drop in calls was largely attributed to the fact that children were confined to homes and not in as close contact with teachers, police officers, medical professionals, and other mandated reporters who would typically report problems to DCFS. Moreover, last March was the first time national abuse hotlines received a majority of calls from minors reporting on their own behalf. The drop in reports is a worrying trend, according to experts. About 80% of child sexual abuse cases occur without any witnesses. With many children still confined to their homes, the number of unreported abuses is likely to be shockingly high.  Zoom provides some insight for teachers and medical professionals, but it does not always show the full picture of a child’s behavior. Families themselves have been going to police stations to report abuse.


Civil Rights of Children Violated — Only 37 Emergency Shelter Beds are Available for Youth Across Illinois while Specialized Foster Home Beds Have Not Been Created

Over a thousand children came into state custody in 2020, yet there are less than 40 emergency shelter beds available to these kids, creating a crisis-level shortage of shelter beds. Currently, children that come into the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) have four options:

1) emergency shelters;

2) residential facilities;


Civil Rights Violations of Hundreds of Children are Left in Psych Wards and Emergency Shelters after DCFS Eliminated Nearly 500 Residential Beds

A Cook County Probate Judge ordered the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to “get your act together” after DCFS left hundreds of kids in psych words and temporary shelters for months, while taxpayers continually covered the bill. This year alone the bill was about $6.2 million. Judge Murphy added that leaving children in such a limbo isn’t care, it’s torture, and a violation of the Constitution. Charles Golbert, Cook County Public Guardian, agreed that this situation is a disgrace. Judge Murphy ordered DCFS to immediately find placements for eight of these children, “or else.”