WBEZ | Sun-Times http://www.wbez.org/tags/sun-times-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois is losing more children to child abuse and neglect than any time in the last 30 years http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-losing-more-children-child-abuse-and-neglect-any-time-last-30-years-109155 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Gina%20Marie%20Presley%2C%203.jpg" style="height: 286px; width: 200px; float: right;" title="Gina Marie Presley, 3" /><em>Updated 11/15/13: Richard Calica, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-dcfs-director-resign-due-illness-109166" target="_blank">has resigned</a>. &nbsp;A statement from the governor&#39;s office said the resignation is due to a serious illness.&nbsp;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">About a month before 3-year-old Gina Presley died, her grandfather says he began calling the state&rsquo;s child-abuse hotline, worried about her safety.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Days passed, and nothing happened.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">So Gerald Presley went to the Oak Forest police on March 11, telling them there might be &ldquo;drug use&rdquo; in the home where Gina lived with his sister &mdash; her legal guardian &mdash; and his sister&rsquo;s new boyfriend, records show. Presley says the police told him to call the hotline again, and he did.</div><p>Eight days later, Illinois child-welfare officials asked police to make a &ldquo;well-being check&rdquo; on Gina, based on &ldquo;reports of her having bruises,&rdquo; according to a police report.</p><p>When officers got there that evening, no one was home.</p><p>A week later, Gina was found dead, allegedly killed by the boyfriend who had caused Gerald Presley&rsquo;s concern, prompting him to call the child-abuse hotline &ldquo;at least&rdquo; three times.</p><p>&ldquo;I started calling at the end of February or in early March, but they didn&rsquo;t take me seriously,&rdquo; Presley says. &ldquo;You see what happened.&rdquo;</p><p>What happened is part of an alarming trend in Illinois: More kids are dying from child abuse and neglect, and a growing number of those deaths are occurring despite the child-welfare system&rsquo;s involvement in investigating or monitoring their care, a WBEZ and <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> examination of 10 years of neglect and abuse cases has found.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/child-welfare-just-placeholder-title-logo-109155#charts"><strong>RISING TOLL: Interactive Charts</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>For the 12 months ending June 30, 2013, child deaths statewide caused by abuse or neglect hit a 30-year high, according to data from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, with the number of cases topping 100 for the first time since 1989.</p><p>Agency officials say most of the abuse and neglect deaths &mdash; about three out of four &mdash; did not involve households the department had prior contact with, though it isn&rsquo;t clear how they determined that. DCFS doesn&rsquo;t release year-by-year statistics on the number of children dying as a result of abuse or neglect while the agency is investigating or monitoring them.</p><p>What WBEZ and the <em>Sun-Times</em> found, though, was that abuse and neglect deaths in which the department had prior involvement more than doubled between 2010 and 2011 &mdash; from 15 deaths to 34. There were 34 deaths again in 2012, 15 of them caused by abuse and 19 by neglect.</p><p>To determine how many abuse and neglect deaths there were in cases involving families with whom the agency was involved, WBEZ and the<em> Sun-Times</em> reviewed the annual reports produced by DCFS Inspector General Denise Kane. Those reports list the cause of death for children whose families had contact with the agency within one year of the death and for children who were wards of the state when they died.</p><p>Of the 19 DCFS-involved neglect deaths, 11 involved infants being smothered or falling after being placed in dangerous sleeping conditions. Such deaths often weren&rsquo;t classified as neglect until late 2011, when DCFS began pressing its investigators to discipline parents who had been educated about sleep safety or who had placed their children in unsafe sleep conditions because of alcohol or drug use.</p><p>Because Kane&rsquo;s analysis is limited to &ldquo;the deaths of Illinois children whose families were involved in the child-welfare system within the preceding 12 months,&rdquo; the number of deaths in families with whom DCFS had been involved could be higher.</p><blockquote><p><strong>RELATED: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/dcfs-actions-prompt-calls-change-109171" target="_blank">Lawmaker, inspector call for DCFS fixes</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Elijah Mims, a 4-year-old South Holland boy, was one of those her analysis did not count. He died while being treated for lymphangiomatosis, a rare disease in which non-malignant tumors attack the body.</p><p>Elijah&rsquo;s 13-year-old brother found him &ldquo;face-down on his bed with white foam around his mouth&rdquo; on Feb. 12, 2012, according to a Cook County medical examiner&rsquo;s report. Elijah died two days later from what authorities concluded was an accidental overdose of morphine. South Holland police reported the case to DCFS &ldquo;as suspected child abuse&rdquo; and continue to investigate, records show.</p><p>DCFS had investigated Elijah&rsquo;s home five times, including twice in 2008, when child-protection officials found the accusations to be credible, the<em> Sun-Times</em> reported after his death.</p><p>Elijah&rsquo;s case isn&rsquo;t among those Kane includes in her 2012 report, though. That&rsquo;s because his family&rsquo;s most recent contact with DCFS had been more than a year earlier, the cutoff point for her analysis.&nbsp;</p><p>Attempts to reach Elijah&rsquo;s parents were unsuccessful.</p><p>Even when deaths occur within the one-year window, some cases still might not be counted because DCFS officials rely on &ldquo;coroners, hospitals and law enforcement in Illinois to report child deaths,&rdquo; Kane writes. &ldquo;The deaths are not always reported. Therefore, true statistical analysis of child deaths in Illinois is difficult because the total number of children that die in Illinois each year is unknown.&rdquo;</p><p>The overall increase in the number of abuse and neglect deaths &mdash; regardless of whether DCFS was involved &mdash; is &ldquo;troubling, and we need to figure it out,&rdquo; says Benjamin S. Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois who monitors DCFS under a federal court order.</p><p>DCFS director Richard Calica says he has eliminated management positions and converted them to investigator jobs in an effort to improve child safety. Calica says that has reduced caseloads that were as high as 25 per investigator when he took over the agency nearly two years ago. His investigators now typically handle nine cases each.</p><p>Wolf says the higher number of DCFS-involved abuse and neglect deaths in 2011 and 2012 could reflect the high past caseloads.</p><p>&ldquo;If you investigate late and you investigate sloppily, it&rsquo;s more likely that something bad will happen to that child,&rdquo; Wolf says. &ldquo;Hopefully, the improvements we&rsquo;ve made in the caseloads of investigators in the last year will cause some improvements in the coming years.&rdquo;</p><p>Gina Presley appeared to be in a safe environment until her guardian, Kim DeBartolo, 45, filed for divorce late last year, and her new boyfriend, Jessie Rodriguez, moved in to her Oak Forest home. DeBartolo began caring for Gina &mdash; whose parents were teens when she was born &mdash; when she was 6 months old.</p><p>Rodriguez, who&rsquo;d been convicted of gun and drug crimes in the early 1990s and sentenced to probation, is now being held at the Cook County Jail, where he awaits trial for murder in Gina&rsquo;s death. The little girl died from &ldquo;blunt force trauma due to child abuse,&rdquo; authorities concluded.</p><p>Gerald Presley says he wishes his warnings to DCFS and the police could have gotten Gina out of harm&rsquo;s way. &ldquo;I know a lot of stuff falls through the cracks with them,&rdquo; he says of DCFS.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Calica calls every child death &ldquo;a horror&rdquo; but says that, given the number of cases DCFS handles each year, &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s real important to understand from a demographics standpoint that while any death is a horror, one out of 39,000 isn&rsquo;t a bad error rate. I think it&rsquo;s unfair to judge a system by a tragedy and have tragedies drive public policy and the entire system, when certain tragedies, I&rsquo;m sorry, are not preventable.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Patrick Smith contributed research and reporting for this story<a name="charts">.</a>&nbsp;</em></div><p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/tcXoB/4/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="600"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/9cQJH/3/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="600"></iframe></p><p><a name="video">Video</a></p><script src='//player.ooyala.com/v3/38f013a07e0458db1ee84d020e47cac'></script><div id="ooyalaplayer" style="width:620px;height:348px">&nbsp;</div><script>OO.ready(function() { OO.Player.create('ooyalaplayer', 'RncXk5aDoO0ynWCWH8P3UucoDTsLAXZQ'); });</script><noscript><div>Please enable Javascript to watch this video</div></noscript></p> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-losing-more-children-child-abuse-and-neglect-any-time-last-30-years-109155 Morning Shift: New book offers lessons on surviving infidelity http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-02/morning-shift-new-book-offers-lessons-surviving <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Noel_Shush -courtesy of ashleymadison.com_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cheating can be a devastating blow to not just your relationship, but your ego as well. How do you pick up the pieces and move on? Also, with the digital age upon us, how do news organizations keep up with the times?&nbsp;</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-surviving-infidelity.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-surviving-infidelity" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New book offers lessons on surviving infidelity" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 02 Jul 2013 10:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-02/morning-shift-new-book-offers-lessons-surviving Protesters rally against Chicago Sun-Times photo layoffs http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/protesters-rally-against-chicago-sun-times-photo-layoffs-107573 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/c19862c4ceb711e28faf22000a1f99f9_7.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Local reporters, photographers and labor leaders gathered with picket signs outside the Chicago Sun-Times building Thursday, a week after the entire photography department at the newspaper was let go.</p><p>Cars driving by the rally beeped their horns as around 150 supporters chanted &ldquo;quality, not cuts&rdquo; and &ldquo;no more layoffs.&rdquo;&nbsp; Many of the faces in the crowd matched the bylines and names from the newspaper: Longtime Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown carried a sign that said, &ldquo;John H. White - &lsquo;nuf said.&rdquo; White, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, marched just a few steps behind him, along with other former Sun-Times photogs.</p><p>Craig Rosenbaum, executive director of the Chicago Newspaper Guild, says they&rsquo;ve filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board that says the layoffs violate federal law. The Guild represents 20 of the photographers who were laid off.</p><p>&ldquo;This is one of the few cities that has two papers, the Tribune and the Sun-Times,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And how are you going to be able to compete with the competition when you don&rsquo;t have two professional photojournalists?&rdquo;</p><p>Rosenbaum says the Guild is planning another rally for next week.</p><p>A statement from the Sun-Times Media group after the layoffs said the decision was &ldquo;difficult,&rdquo; but noted the media business is changing rapidly, and audiences want more video content with their news.</p><p>Meanwhile, many of the former Sun-Times photographers say they&rsquo;re trying to move on to freelancing and other projects.&nbsp; Rob Hart, who started at the Sun-Times over a decade ago, says he was serving dual roles at the protest Thursday morning: marching alongside his former colleagues, and photographing the protest for a freelance assignment.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/protesters-rally-against-chicago-sun-times-photogr.js" type="text/javascript" language="javascript"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/protesters-rally-against-chicago-sun-times-photogr" target="_blank">View the story "Protesters rally against Chicago Sun-Times photography layoffs" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Thu, 06 Jun 2013 14:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/protesters-rally-against-chicago-sun-times-photo-layoffs-107573 Redeye: Are mobs damaging Chicago's reputation? No. Free mini-newspapers are. http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-06-07/redeye-are-mobs-damaging-chicagos-reputation-no-free-mini-newspapers <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-07/flickr-beer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="374" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-07/flickr-beer.jpg" title="You heard them (Flickr/Jon Buckland)" width="500"></p><p>Wow, don't look now but the Chicago Tribune is redesigning their newspaper and site! They are going back...to the future! The <a href="http://feder.blogs.chicago.timeout.com/2011/06/07/another-tribune-makeover-this-time-theyre-making-us-pay-for-it/">Trib is shedding their Randy Michaels</a> "<em>We are going to blow the lid off the internet!</em>" and moving to more of a "<em>remember how we all liked what we did six years ago?</em>" Now, if they can get Bob Greene back in the fold? Maybe get the ole Inc. column dusted off? And finally, go back to 50 cents a paper? Oh wait, no. Actually, this whole new 'Trib' will cost more. I can't say what <a href="http://feder.blogs.chicago.timeout.com/2011/06/07/another-tribune-makeover-this-time-theyre-making-us-pay-for-it/">Robert Feder says better</a>:</p><blockquote><p>OK, let me see if I’ve got this straight: Those of us who’ve been paying for home delivery of the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Tribune</a> all along as it’s gotten smaller, shallower and less essential will now have the privilege of paying more for them to put back some of what they took out?</p></blockquote><p><strong>B story</strong>: Everyone is still writing about the awful mob story. The <a href="http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/ct-red-flashmob-2-20110606,0,4068659.story">Redeye wonders if these mobs are damaging Chicago's reputation</a>. Well, putting that out on the front page of your free paper might actually help your thesis. Which leads me to my thesis: Are free mini-newspapers damaging Chicago's reputation? Discuss in the comments and you can win a trip to see the new <em>Twilight</em>! ZINGER!</p><p><strong>C story</strong>: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/humidity-triple-digit-heat-index-readings-tap-chicago-87504">It's really hot</a>. It's not 1995 hot yet, but I can see that happening if this doesn't let up. Who was in town for that crap? I remember moving into an apartment in Lincoln Square that summer. It was above a sausage market. Now imagine, no air conditioning and the smell of weird German meat wafting through the pipes. Yeah, that was gross.</p><p><strong>D story</strong>: Guess who's back. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/goolsbee-leave-white-house-return-university-chicago-87511">Goolsbee's back</a>.</p><p><strong>Weather</strong>: It's like a "humid blizzard". Come on Chicago. Give me a 75 degree, breezy day.</p><p><strong>Sports</strong>: The Cubs are doing a "<a href="http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=32089">It Gets Better</a>" video. I'm sorry, is it going to be about gay bullying or being a Cubs fan? Actually, Zambrano's "we're a Triple-A club" is getting some traction. <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/5815007-452/cubs-a-triple-a-team-carlos-zambrano-isnt-far-off.html">Morrissey actually sides with Zambrano in his column today</a>.</p><p>Also, when the NBA Finals resume tonight, make a mental note of how many times they show a Derrick Rose commercial. He's in a few right now and when it comes to NBA stars endorsing products, he might be the number one option. Really, what happened to Kobe? Even Lebron is outdone by Rose. The only player that is close would be Durant in the Gatorade ads and maybe Dwyane Wade on that obnoxious T-Mobile buffering commercial.</p><p><strong>Kicker</strong>: This kid dances. Such joy:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lK7IzfLmyco" width="560"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 14:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-06-07/redeye-are-mobs-damaging-chicagos-reputation-no-free-mini-newspapers