When ever I read or see these types of stories, I think of my own children. I put them in the place of the children that suffered. I don’t know why I do that, my mind just wanders to my 2 kids. That’s why I couldn’t finish the article or watch the video.
Even the childrens’ toys deserved better conditions than that.
- Man with a Plan - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 2:17 pm:
Things that involve children like this are hard to read when you’ve got your own. The heartbreaking thing is that the kids love their parents and family regardless because they don’t know that life should be better than that.
- Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 2:25 pm:
“There is a distinction between a dirty home and one where a child’s safety cannot be guaranteed. But that can be difficult to discern.”- George Sheldon. Maybe it isn’t that difficult ol’ Georgy Boy. We regulate almost everything else in this state - maybe there should be a base-level of cleanliness required for children under age 6 to be able to stay in a home on the FIRST DCFS visit. Visible rodents dining in garbage bags on the floor? Kids are gone. Mildew, mold, carbon monoxide, or air quality tests reveal systemic problems? Kids are gone. Open garbage bags on the bed with rotting trash in them? Kids are gone. I refuse to accept that DCFS investigators aren’t well educated enough to decide that a place like this should have had the kids taken out on the very first visit. Illinois has a new law that allows welfare recipients to have their dogs and cats neutered for free…how about extending the same idea to trash pickup?
Please, someone, anyone, don’t let this go to another generation. Teach these children they do not have to and should not allow themselves to live like that as adults.
There’s more than alcohol and anxiety on the father’s part here. There must be mental illness, depression, drugs, and some sort of developmental impairment on both adults part going on too.
Look, I don’t know what ‘the red line’ is that DCFS says must be crossed before the kids are taken away, but that red line was crossed, and then moved, and crossed, and then moved, and on and on.
“If you keep having kids and people give you stuff for free, you just keep going on that way. Why work for things if you can get it for nothing?”
This stupid, ignorant, pointless, counterproductive way of thinking makes me so mad. The hand outs did not give them the mental problems that led to their very long and diverse set of poor decisions. The handouts -from family ,friends, and yes the government - kept the kids from starving. Shaking your head and looking down on people and saying that it would be better to just let them drown in their own problems - instead of taking money out of their pocket, which is what they always, always, always are concerned about first and foremost - is just so callous and out of touch.
Sorry for the rant, I am slightly upset.
- Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 2:57 pm:
If you make it to the end of the story, after years of red flags, occasional instances of progress followed by regression to worse conditions, you find this:
==Then, progress stopped. Three more meetings were scheduled in late July. Amy missed them all.
Though under the threat of losing the kids, Amy found reasons not to meet with the caseworker. Sick kids, her husband’s grandmother’s broken hip, food pantry runs.
On July 30, Cordevant was told by her supervisor to close the case. Cordevant’s last entry was, “This is the final note for this client. Services have now ended.”==
Based on a long, well-documented history, why, why, why was this case closed? How many other, similar cases have been closed? What was the justification?
Pot calling kettle - “Based on a long, well-documented history, why, why, why was this case closed? How many other, similar cases have been closed? What was the justification?”
The Rauners both need to read this article, as well as the “Why We Did This” piece at the end. Maybe, just maybe, he will decide he needs to be in charge for once during his term as Governor. We all know what happened to the social services safety net because he wanted a political win. If the reason this case was closed had anything, ANYTHING, to do with cuts to services or directions to Agency heads by his administration, it needs to come out NOW. And if it did, heaven help him, because he will be tied to this shame forever.
Parenthood is probably the biggest responsibility one can undertake. It is picking yourself up when you are tired, angry, or sad - being a good example. I have seen good examples and bad in my own extended family. And when the bad examples come along, even in a middle class family, it sets people back and hurts.
Why is DCFS so weak when it comes actually removing children from homes? A new story along these lines comes out every few months, and how many others don’t get a newspaper article?
DCFS was involved with this family for 6 years and the mother stops cooperating and DCFS closes the file, shouldn’t the opposite happen? Someone from DCFS needs to go public and work hand in hand with a legislator to introduce legislation to strengthen the ability of DCFS to pull children out of bad situation.
- Almost the Weekend - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 3:23 pm:
This is very well written, but I truly do wonder if this family was not white how this would be portrayed. This is case is similar to the Joliet toddler who passed away. Both died of asphyxia, but the Joliet parents were charged with homicide. This couple involuntary manslaughter.
- Boone's is Back - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 3:41 pm:
This is awful- couldn’t read the whole thing like so many others on here.
- Gruntled University Employee - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 3:46 pm:
When a person is diagnosed with a disease like cancer we as a society don’t tend to blame the individual, but when a person has a mental illness we do. I think it’s because cancer affects the individual and mental illness tends to affect those around the individual more, most mentally ill people don’t even know they are ill. I have a family member that’s suicidal but believes that she’s fine and everyone else is troubled. Unfortunately, until we as a society stop stigmatizing mental illness and start treating it as a true illness situations like these will only continue to happen.
- Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 4:15 pm:
DCFS needs better ways to handle kids in care. We have a poor record of turning wards into functioning adults.
Usually, poor parents are better than available foster parents. That is why DCFS works hard to keep families together.
In this case they needed to forcefully intervene years ago.
I made myself read the whole thing. Several portions I had to pause, just to reflect.
Respect to the DCFS workers who tried to turn around this family before the case was closed. It has to take an incredible mixture of passion and restraint walk into those kinds of situations and do what they do.
I’m not sad about this. I’m angry. that the father was so selfish. That the mother put up with it. and kept having kids. that no one could tell what was going on with them. those kids will be scarred forever.
Yea and remember when the Tribune ran a hack-job story about the intact family services program a couple months back attacking non-profits administering the program? There was probably a non-profit social worker making 1/4 of the salary of their DCFS supervisor screaming for help. That agency needs to be completely cleaned out and rebuilt.
Unforgivable might not be the best word choice. But the mother, the mother in law, police, DCFS, are complicit in allowing this to happen.
Should be enough of a reminder to speak up when you think you know of something like this happening.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 5:35 pm:
Sheldon is wrong, dead wrong, to suggest that these are difficult cases to decide.
The department has a complete checklist of what constitutes an uninhabitable home that placed children at risk.
It is an insult to all of the wonderful foster parents out there that it was somehow a difficult call whether these kids were better off in a foster home or living knee-deep in squalor.
Rauner allowed this to happen - forced it to happen when he placed his budget priorities ahead of the welfare of children. There is no doubt that Rauner’s push to reduce foster care caseloads led to policies and practices that left children in dangerous homes. They started using computer models to try to reduce costs instead of relying on caseworkers to follow well-designed child abuse and neglect investigation procedures.
The head of child abuse investigations should come before lawmakers with the inspector general sitting next to him to explain all of this and take responsibility.
- Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 6:09 pm:
YDD. I did not intend to insult the good foster parents. Some are terrific.
Problem is that the number of foster parents needed is greater than the number of good foster parents available. Laquon McDonald was raped by foster parents.
More money would help but money does not really drive the number of quality foster parents.
@ Almost the weekend - Semaj was ruled a homicide in large part because there were very obvious attempts to hide the crime after the fact. Reporting her missing, hiding the body under the couch, the suspicious fire that destroyed the house days later. In this case there was no attempt to hide anything, the police were contacted immediately, and it was very clearly an accident. Race had little to do with it.
- FormerParatrooper - Thursday, Dec 7, 17 @ 6:57 pm:
Why place the blame on anyone but the parents and thier families who knew this was happening? DCFS seems to have had plenty of time to intervene, the excuse of keeping families together as an excuse doesn’t fly in the context of this story.
I spent a short time working for a pest control company, and I made calls to DCFS over the horrid conditions that some people think bug spray would remedy. Bug spray is not a magical solution to filth. DCFS did nothing. That was 7 years ago.
All of us are angry when we read that story and reasonably so. However, this is why we need more mental health resources and intervention points. That father is responsible for what he has done, but also deeply mentally ill.
- Almost the Weekend - Friday, Dec 8, 17 @ 9:14 am:
I strongly believe the BND would not cover this story the same about a family in East Saint Louis. I don’t have any evidence to prove it, but it’s shocking to me when white people go through problems in life the first thing that is brought up is mental illness.