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“Our worst fears have been realized”

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2019

* I just have no words

Just two weeks ago, two teenagers were left with no choice but to sleep on the floor of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services office building in the South Loop.

That’s according to a letter written by the Cook County Public Guardian to a federal judge overseeing a consent decree.

“Our worst fears have been realized,” wrote public guardian Charles Golbert. “DCFS has to resort to forcing children to sleep on the hard cold floors of its offices because it doesn’t even have an adequate number of shelter beds.”

In an interview with WGN, Golbert said: “It’s a violation of the children’s civil rights. It’s a violation of their rights under a federal consent decree that governs DCFS and it’s a violation of basic human dignity for the children.”

Golbert said the kids were 16 and 17 years old. After spending the night on the floor, he said one of them ran away from DCFS and, at last word, had not been found.

This may not be an isolated incident.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - northernwatersports - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 8:21 am:

    Rich, I was that federal judge, I would have a few words…
    Who the heck is in charge?
    When can they be here to talk with me?
    Bailiff, please go make a bed ready for our guest…?

  2. - northernwatersports - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 8:22 am:

    If I was that judge….

  3. - Charlie Brown - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 8:29 am:

    1. Acting Director Marc Smith came to DCFS from Aunt Martha’s , where the shelter beds were closed.

    2. Who knew about and approved of having kids sleep in state offices?

    3. How kind has this been going on?

    4. What do Aunt Martha’s CEO Raul Garza and Smith have to say?

    5. Can we get a comment from them about compliance with Burgos decree while we are at it?

  4. - A Jack - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 8:32 am:

    Bruce Rauner is directly responsible for this. Beds were lost because shelters were not paid and had to close. However, I suspect Bruce slept in a comfortable bed last night.

  5. - PJ - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 8:32 am:

    Double their funding, fire the entire leadership team, and start from scratch

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 8:35 am:

    ===start from scratch ===

    Yeah, that’s it. DCFS needs more turmoil. Got it.

  7. - A Jack - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 8:45 am:

    This has zero to do with DCFS leadership. DCFS contracts out for beds. If shelters close because of a lack of funding, those beds are lost. There are only so many beds available in the system.

  8. - lakeside - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 9:05 am:

    Then you rent these children a hotel room, send someone to supervise them and make sure they have a BED. 16 and 17-year-olds going through the system are already traumatized. If you don’t have enough beds in the system, then you’re going to have to deal with the pain of buying them at market rate.

    There seems to be no end to people willing to let children sleep on concrete in this country.

  9. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 9:10 am:

    =Then you rent these children a hotel room, send someone to supervise them and make sure they have a BED=

    Somehow this is what should have happened. They should have been able to find someone with the ability to authorize that.

    Until they can find a better place for the kids or clear out some space in one of the DCFS or state buildings and make that a temporary shelter. They have the space.

  10. - Oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 9:29 am:

    This, veteran’s deaths, uneforced FOID cards, on and on, are the result of Rauner and the “starve the beast” mentality of the Republican party. IPI and Tronc in action. Cut all of it, cut pensions, but don’t make those who can afford it pay. Let them continue to hide behind the “hard working families”.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 9:31 am:

    ===cut pensions===

    Can’t do that.

    Pick things that can happen.

    === “hard working families”.===

    Who is not a “hard working family”

    Use your words. Thanks.

  12. - Shrimp gumbo - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 9:33 am:

    “hard cold floors”. another way to say that is that “they were safe and indoors”. I guess sleeping on the floor is only a tragedy if it’s not at the airport.

  13. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 9:39 am:

    Cut through the bull, this is another failure of legislature for inadequate funding and Rauner for making things worse. And it is a failure of vision, and that is not a new problem. How many directors and governors have we seen come and go and this still is a problem. The only real answer will be to file a federal lawsuit and hopefully get federal oversight. Because without that those in power will just ride out the temporary outrages and continue to do the least they can.

  14. - Fixer - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 9:57 am:

    Willy, reread that comment. I think you might have misread it. To the post, while that floor is probably better than those kids sleeping on the street, the fact is DCFS has to get the contracts reestablished. Now. This kind of thing is unconscionable.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    ===…reread that comment. I think you might have misread it.===

    I’m mocking the snark. Angry is gonna angry.

    Thanks, appreciate it. Hope you’re well.


  16. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    ==“hard cold floors”. another way to say that is that “they were safe and indoors”. I guess sleeping on the floor is only a tragedy if it’s not at the airport.==

    If you don’t understand the difference between a foster child’s life and that of a well lived child going on vacation and dealing with an airport delay, then i can’t adequately explain it to you.
    They weren’t on a sleepover birthday party in someone’s living room. We are supposed to be making their lives better.

  17. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    I meant well loved child. It’s the foster kids that have has a whole lot of life packed into a short amount of time.

  18. - Oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    Fixer, thanks. Willy has decided he doesn’t like me, along with an inability to recognize snark.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    - Oh? -

    Still trying to get the grain elevator closed? You must be a hoot.


  20. - Charlie Brown - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 10:15 am:

    This had nothing to do with the legislature, the budget, or Brice Rauner for bloody once.

    DCFS in partnership with Aunt Martha’s decided to convert shelter space to another contractual use.

    I mean, read the story first before you comment, it’s WGN for heaven’s sake, not the Chicago Reader, it will take you two minutes.

    As a result of the policy change implemented by DCFS, there are now not enough shelter beds atleast on occasion. Just like hospitals and hotels, if you want to make sure there is enough beds at all times, that means some beds are going to be empty a lot of the time.

    Oh, and apparently the Public Guardian warned them it was a bad idea and they did it any way.

  21. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 10:34 am:

    Deja vu.

    Back in the eighties there was a shelter crisis in Cook County which involved, yes, kids sleeping in offices and desperate administrators renting hotel rooms (really not a good idea) to put up the kids on an emergency basis, especially over the weekend when their regular caseworkers were not available.

    I believe one of the causes was a sharp increase in children coming into the system, partly as a result of the catastrophic Joseph Wallace case.

    As a result of the media attention DCFS contracted with Catholic Charities to set up a centralized shelter on the North side open 24 hours a day to receive children. I think the shelter also had access to specialized emergency foster homes. No more kids sleeping in offices and hotels. The shelter was up on Montrose, not sure what happened, but I believe it is gone now.

  22. - Justicia - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    DCFS is broke.

    Below is another story on a different issue that received coverage in Chicago yesterday on public radio.

    Without an influx of more dollars, how does the state get these problems get fixed?

    If these problems get fixed with graduated income tax revenues, how does the state start to pay down its pension debt?

    has the state hit a point that with the looming $130 billion in pension debt, certain problems may have to have to wait until another day?

    Is that possible if the problem is backed up by a court order entered before the state ran up its pension debt?

    What a mess…

    DCFS Has Failed Spanish-Speaking Families For Decades

  23. - revvedup - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 1:04 pm:

    The answer isn’t merely a new Director and senior management, because lacking the resources it will be a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. The caseworkers know the score, and it’s kids -146, DCFS 0. It’s not about new programs, or renaming programs, and endless studies and reports (the Courts have done that nicely) it’s about money and staff in the field addressing real needs.

  24. - ANON - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    So the same Dems that are vehemently apposed to illegal immigrant children sleeping on hard cold floors have turned a blind eye to how we treat OUR children. Lets keep voting them in office and hope for a different outcome.

  25. - Oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    Let them eat soya beans, right OW?

  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    - Oh? -

    Shut down that tax-eating grain elevator. Go tell Troy Grove that you want it shut down…


  27. - Oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    Help…help….OW’s straw man is eating him.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:31 pm:

    You said downstate is irrelevant, you say Agriculture is a tax eater…

    You still want a grain elevator in your town? Why?

  29. - Oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    OW….I am wondering….don’t you know I am fan of yours? Have been right along. My only point was that Republicans in general and Southern Illinois Republicans have marginilized themselves. They want ti secede…that is not playing well with others.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    So… you want the grain elevator closed or not?

    Is downstate irrelevant?

    Is agriculture a tax eater?

  31. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    I’ve fed ya. You want to answer, not answer, I’m really done.

    Good luck.

  32. - Oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    I never said I wanted it closed. Quote me where I did. I would say downstate is but shouldn’t be irrelevant. They need to join the nainstream. Agri is heavily subsidized in this state and country. While the rural counties get more than give tax wise…they are anti Chicago and state. U would advise our Gov to engage in benign neglect.

  33. - oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:53 pm:

    I not U

  34. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    - Oh? -

    I fed ya. Either answer or don’t, don’t really care now.

    Good luck.

  35. - Sweet Mama - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    I have a 15 year old and a 17 year old. It makes me cry to think of kids like them so desperate, they sleep on an office floor and then so desperate, they flee the office. How do we stop this? We can argue all day about whose fault it is, and in the meantime, kids don’t have a place to go when they’re in trouble.

  36. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    A better solution would have been to buy 3 air mattresses. Then have the teenagers and an adult spend the night in the office. Not perfect but shows empathy.

    Hard to plan for emergency beds with low funds and the opioid crisis. I see that children in care is going up while the number of children in Illinois is going down.

  37. - Charlie Brown - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 4:48 pm:

    This is not a question of inadequate funding.

    DCFS moved funding from Emergency Shelter beds at Aunt Martha’s and Lawrence Hall to Interim Care Center (ICCs) at Aunt Martha’s and Lawrence Hall.

    The $ is still there, but now going to a different service.

  38. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 5:13 pm:

    I know where we can find another $2 billion in revenue — right now — without changing the constitution.

    Tax federally taxed retirement in the state of Illinois.

    Don’t care how it’s done, don’t care if they build in a limit to the existing subtraction, but tax it.

    The moral fiber of the State of Illinois is on display, and we would sooner let millionaires pay no tax because they’re retired than shelter children.

  39. - Amanda - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 5:27 pm:

    I don’t care who’s to blame. (Though, it was definitely Rauner.) How are they going to fix this? There are probably a lot more children who are going to be without beds (or supervision) or staying in unsafe situations. Overflowing shelters are a serious problem. Fix. The. Problem. Get these kids safe.

  40. - Oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 5:59 pm:

    Candy: pensioners are millionaires? Those living on social security are millionaires? Military and disabled veterans are millionaires? Don’t tax Ken and Bruce but nail the others, right. You and OW been visiting the hemp fields together?

  41. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:13 pm:

    ===…been visiting the hemp fields together?===

    If you *were* a “fan” of mine, you’d know my position on the graduated tax, and you’d know the Tom Cross gag.

    Including me in your retorts is lazy, and especially lazy not knowing my thoughts.

    Good luck.

  42. - oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:17 pm:

    u started it ow

  43. - M - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:17 pm:

    Oh, the farmers have told me that we can’t get high on Hemp.

  44. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:19 pm:

    ===u started it===

    Says it all, doesn’t it?

    Like I said, friend, good luck.

  45. - Mama - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:24 pm:

    By the way, I’m one of those State Pensioners you want to tax, and I am no where near being a millionaire.

  46. - Mama - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:29 pm:

    Could a couple of floors in the Gov. Thompson State Office building in Chicago be converted into an emergency shelter for DCFS?

  47. - oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:31 pm:

    I gueds it does…Tom Cross…Dennis Hatsert…Bob Mitchler…OW….all leaving downstream in Oseego

  48. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:33 pm:

    ===I gueds it does…Tom Cross…Dennis Hatsert…Bob Mitchler…OW….all leaving downstream in Oseego===

    Need a breathalyzer for that keyboard?

    Let it go. I’m helping you here. Honest.

  49. - oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:34 pm:

    Living not leaving (from the Aurora Sanitary district) Republicans all

  50. - oh? - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 6:37 pm:

    cell phones and arthritis don’t make a keyboard sprecialist…Captain

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