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Child Advocacy Blog


Archive for April, 2023

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.