Children and Families Services to have violated consent decree

The Cook County Public Guardian (PG) wrote a letter to the federal judge responsible for overseeing the consent decree with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The letter outlined how teens in DCFS custody have been forced to sleep on floors since there aren't enough beds to hold them. They noted that this is a violation of their civil rights.

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were successful in filing for a federal consent decree that would protect the rights of DCFS wards back in the mid-1990s. They did so after children were found being forced to sleep on the state agency's floors back then.

In this most recent case, the PG noted that one of the children who was forced to sleep on the floor ran away from the South Loop facility after spending a single night there. They haven't located the minor since. It's unclear if the other teen is still in their DCFS's custody. In his filing, the PG notes that he suspects that many other children have been forced to sleep on floors in recent weeks.

Since the PG's filing, a DCFS spokesperson has come forward to say that they're aware of these accusations. They've noted that they're working with their administrators to address the long-standing challenges that their agency faces. They noted that they continue to be committed to rebuilding the Illinois child welfare system and making improvements necessary to keep kids safe.

A representative with the ACLU contends that this latest story is just one of many that showcase the problems that exist on a much larger scale. A representative with the civil rights group pointed out that Illinois keeps kids away out of their family homes and in substitute care longer than any other state in the nation. They note that this has resulted in numerous shortages.

It's unclear what the next steps are in this matter.

Individuals, no matter whether they're immigrants or minors, are all afforded basic protections under the law. If you've been denied those, then you owe it to yourself to reach out to a civil rights attorney who is experienced in taking on problematic, high-profile cases like yours.

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