by Trevor Schakohl
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) was sued Thursday for allegedly incarcerating large numbers of children in its guardianship despite court orders to release them, a problem dating back decades.
Children as young as 11 were all placed in juvenile jails after coming into contact with the juvenile justice system but ultimately received court orders necessitating their release, according to the lawsuit filed by Cook County, Illinois Public Guardian Charles Golbert. The DCFS allegedly nevertheless kept the children incarcerated following the court orders, some for months afterward.
"Right now, there are actually empty beds in placements because placements are not being paid enough [by #DCFS] to be fully staffed. There are large placements that have entire units with empty beds, so that could be fixed in the very short term," Golbert said to reporters today.
— Loevy & Loevy (@LoevyAndLoevy) January 19, 2023
“Despite literally three decades of court orders, news reports and letters from informed officials, the wrongful incarcerations by top DCFS officials have continued under both Democratic and Republican administrations,” the law firm Loevy & Loevy representing the plaintiffs stated. “Most of the children suffered physical, sexual or other traumas before they were taken into DCFS’s care, and Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert charges that DCFS imprisonments intensely magnify the harms already suffered.”
The Office of the Cook County Public Guardian indicates children were left incarcerated for long periods in 84 instances in 2021, with seven experiencing that situation as of Jan. 19, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
The DCFS did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Trevor Schakohl is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Juveniles in School” by Se315. CC BY-SA 4.0.