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“Illegal, unconstitutional, outrageous and stupid”

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* CBS 2’s Chris Tye

We obtained DCFS transport records that show over the last 2.5 years 28 cases where restraints—leg shackles and handcuffs—were used on foster kids. […]

“At some point, and I don’t know what that point is, but this is torture,” said Cook County public guardian Charles Golbert.

The state contract calls for the Jim Steward transport company, not state experts, to determine the “proper methods of containment and if necessary restraint.”

“To delegate that to a bus company is illegal, unconstitutional, outrageous and stupid,” Golbert said.

Who were the stupid, beastly morons at DCFS who thought delegating shackling decisions about children to a bus company was a good idea? What could possibly go wrong?

These are kids who have been taken from terribly abusive and/or horribly neglectful parents ostensibly for their own good. But even though they’ve already been traumatized by their very own families, they’re treated by DCFS like prison inmates.

The prime directive of that agency is helping children. I mean, it’s even in their agency’s name, for crying out loud. It’s not called the Department of Making Bus Drivers’ Lives Easier So We Can Save Money On Trained Staff. And if DCFS employees can’t figure that out, then they need to quit or be fired. Now.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    Agree completely with Rich. I can’t post what I’d like to post as it wouldn’t make it online.

    Who were the beastly ones who thought shackling decisions should go to a bus company was a good idea? I hope a reporter asks this and receives an answer.


  2. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 12:59 pm:

    Heads must roll…period.


  3. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    Why havent we seen the original, 2017 contract yet?


  4. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    Anyone who approved that contract ought to be fired.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    === The state contract calls for the Jim Steward transport company, not state experts, to determine the “proper methods of containment and if necessary restraint.”===

    Someone signed off in this, and when they did, at no point was the safety of the child thought. Not for one second.

    Each and every time this occurred, it’s as though DCFS sanctioned the treatment.

    Agencies that defer their own missions to contractors for any reason is an agency not committed to the mission, but see ends and means, and those ends and means are more important than their charge.

    Inexcusable that it was even discussed to be in any contract.


  6. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    Many years ago…I was forced to wear hand cuffs and leg shackles…I was an adult…@6′3″260.

    They hurt…for days afterward…specifically designed to hurt.

    My crime was marijuana related…what crime did these kids commit?


  7. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    Well now let’s hold on a second, frequent commenter cdog hasn’t yet arrived to explain to us in more detail how these kids are in reality dangerous, violent sickos just waiting to gouge out the eyes of innocent bus drivers. Let us not forget that he/she has lunch with Very Important People who know things.


  8. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    I can’t excuse this, but I can understand how it happens. The transportation company is given custody of the child for the duration of the trip. That child is now the responsibility of the driver, who I presume is the only employee present for much or all of the trip.

    I can understand why that person would want to do everything possible to ensure the child was not lost on his/her watch. So they end up doing stupid things like this because they lack the resources to do anything better.

    However DCFS rewrites the contract to forbid this in the future will inevitably drive up the costs of transporting minors. That’s acceptable as far as I’m concerned, but my sense is that someone was hoping to lower these costs and let the transportation company worry about how to do it for the low price the state would pay.

    Again, not excusing this. Hope they fix it today and that this never happens again. But I’ve been around government long enough to know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t think anyone intended to torture these kids, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were indeed tortured.


  9. - Flat Bed Ford - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    =And if DCFS employees can’t figure that out, then they need to quit or be fired. Now.=

    Odds are pretty high that they are in a union and cannot be fired just like that. That is one of the huge problems at DCFS. There are many, but that is a big one.


  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    ===cannot be fired just like that===

    Bad managers blame unions.


  11. - FedUp2 - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    These are traumatized children, to say the least, and for any DCFS worker to hand these children over to this bus company, willingly and knowingly the outcome that they will be restrained is unforgivable.
    The caseworker/DCFS had to sign off that these children would be transported to another State.
    How did they eat or use the restroom in shackles?
    DCFS needs to clean out their house and own up to their mistakes! These are babies/human beings all they need is security and love and the State of Illinois does this to them? Ashamed and disgusted!!!


  12. - Klaus von Bülow - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    The States Attorney should be filing charges against or convening a grand jury on any non peace officer or otherwise not under arrest with some sort of unlawful detainment.


  13. - Fixer - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    Flat Bed Ford, I will guarantee that whoever’s delegated this decision is in either merit comp or is an appointee. That level of decision making is usually a couple levels of management higher than what’s in AFSCME.


  14. - Perrid - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:34 pm:

    “A judge has ruled any restraints must come on orders from a court or a psychologist and two senior DCFS officials.”

    This seems like a good decision. Better than this company shackling every kid (don’t know if that’s what was happening but wouldn’t be surprised), and better than some of you all who seemingly can’t conceive of a single way an ill child in an enclosed vehicle could be dangerous to themselves or others.

    Going through this process could slow down how long it takes to get them to a treatment facility, but that seems like a pretty small concern compared to the possibility of unnecessarily traumatizing a child.


  15. - Paul S - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:52 pm:

    “However DCFS rewrites the contract to forbid this in the future will inevitably drive up the costs of transporting minors. That’s acceptable as far as I’m concerned, but my sense is that someone was hoping to lower these costs and let the transportation company worry about how to do it for the low price the state would pay.”

    Where are all the Republicans that say we need to continue to cut costs at any means? This is a prime example on where proper funding is needed, and that means more revenue.


  16. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    They say bus company. Does it his mean more than one child transported and shackled at a time? Is there more than a driver or just a driver in charge of a bus load of kids changed to benches? Kid changed in a car is the definition of environment injurious. The standard for removing a child from parent


  17. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    Chained not changed I will blame spell check


  18. - Charlie Brown - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    This contract cannot have been approved by a union employee.

    This was over $100K. The Comptroller’s office ought to have a copy of the contract. My guess is that the director’s signature is on it, and before that it was reviewed and approved by the general counsel and the chief of staff.

    Every contract at DCFS also should have an assigned contract monitor as well.

    If slapping black children in irons is not enough to get you fired at DCFS, we ought to invite Confederate Railroad back to the state fair, Governor’s Office.


  19. - James McIntyre - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    When DCFS allowed this to happen DCFS engaged in Abuse Allagation 14/64

    Below is the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
    Procedures 300.Appendix B
    Allegation 14/64: Tying/Close Confinement

    Allegation of Harm #14/64
    TYING/CLOSE CONFINEMENT
    a) Definition
    Tying
    Tying means unreasonable restriction of a child’s mobility, actions or physical functioning
    by tying the child to a fixed (or heavy) object, or tying limbs together.
    Confinement
    Confinement means forcing the child to remain in a closely confined area that restricts
    physical movement.
    Examples of tying and close confinement include, but are not limited to:
    • Locking a child in a closet or small room;
    • Tying one or more limbs to a bed, chair, or other object except as authorized by a
    licensed physician;
    • Tying a child’s hands behind his or her back;
    • Putting child in a cage; or
    • Preventing the child’s ability to escape in case of an emergency due to a locked or
    blocked exit.


  20. - Iamthepita - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    Could the contract be FOIA’ed? I’m wondering how this contractor handled kids with disabilities too…


  21. - Nick Name - Thursday, Dec 5, 19 @ 4:40 pm:

    ===The state contract calls for the Jim Steward transport company, not state experts, to determine the “proper methods of containment and if necessary restraint.”===

    Didn’t any staff attorneys or anyone else review the contract? Holy carp.


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