WBEZ | DCFS http://www.wbez.org/tags/dcfs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois DCFS ward charged with murder http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-dcfs-ward-charged-murder-110836 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/SPEED BOOKING PHOTO.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Kadiedra Shontell Speed&rsquo;s experience in Illinois&rsquo; child-welfare system has included being placed with adoptive parents who ended up abusing her, stays in psychiatric hospitals, addresses at four homes in the last five years and several arrests for fighting, according to court records and sources.</p><p>Now 20, she&rsquo;s still a ward of the state after her failed adoption, years earlier. Over Labor Day weekend, she had another run-in with the law &mdash; this time with deadly consequences.</p><p>After arguing with her 34-year-old roommate, Speed left in a rage and returned hours later, allegedly stabbing the woman to death in their basement apartment in Joliet, Will County prosecutors and neighbors say.</p><p>She&rsquo;s believed to be the first ward in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to be charged with murder since 2009, when another ward, D&rsquo;Andre Howard, then 20, stabbed his fiancee&rsquo;s sister, father and grandmother to death in Hoffman Estates.</p><p>A report in 2012 by the DCFS inspector general about that case &mdash; in which Howard was found guilty and is now serving three life sentences &mdash; was supposed to lead to greater oversight of hundreds of older wards, who typically are in &ldquo;independent living&rdquo; programs run by social service agencies that DCFS hires. Inspector General Denise Kane revealed Howard had a history of sexual assault arrests and a &ldquo;long history of violence&rdquo; that &ldquo;indicated an urgent need for services.&rdquo; But she concluded &ldquo;a lack of communication among involved professionals,&rdquo; including DCFS&rsquo; sexual abuse services coordinator, led to a DCFS contractor inadequately supervising Howard.</p><p>Whether child-welfare workers missed warning signs of potential violent behavior by Speed is difficult to assess. There&rsquo;s no indication the fights she had in high school caused any serious injuries, and her most recent involvement in the court system before her murder arrest involved her winning an order of protection in February against a parolee boyfriend she said beat her up.</p><p>Karen Hawkins, DCFS&rsquo; communications chief, declined to comment about Speed, as did social service contractors who had worked with her.</p><p>Speed had been in an independent-living program at the time she filed the order of protection, court records show. She reported living in an apartment in Crest Hill, working at a Home Depot warehouse and attending Joliet Junior College. A college spokeswoman said Speed had been enrolled for the spring semester but did not complete her studies.</p><p>According to DCFS rules, wards in independent living &ldquo;can reasonably be expected to live autonomously and without daily staff oversight&rdquo; and by age 20 1/2 are expected to be living &ldquo;without financial support.&rdquo; Caseworkers are required to see independent-living wards &ldquo;at least twice per month,&rdquo; with at least one visit taking place in the ward&rsquo;s home.</p><p>&ldquo;Youth who cannot succeed in [independent living] will be considered for a more supportive living arrangement,&rdquo; a DCFS policy manual states.</p><p>Speed and the woman she allegedly killed, Sharleatha M. Green, moved in to their apartment at 210 N. Eastern Ave. in Joliet about a month before the Aug. 31 slaying, neighbors said. After arguing with Green and leaving, Speed returned with a man and entered the apartment through a ground-floor window.</p><p>Speed is accused of stabbing Green to death, according to court records. She&rsquo;s now being held at the Will County Jail on $1.5 million bail.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">She pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Wednesday.</span>&nbsp;The Will County Public Defender&rsquo;s office, which is representing her, declined to comment.</p><p>Speed was born in 1994 in Milwaukee, according to court records. It&rsquo;s unclear when she came to Illinois and when she was adopted. She had spent time in psychiatric hospitals after her adoptive parents ended up abusing her as a young girl, sources said.</p><p>In 2009, she was arrested three times for disorderly conduct while living in a group home in Downers Grove operated by ChildServ Inc., records show. She was sentenced to court supervision and community service, which she successfully completed.</p><p>The following year, Speed lived at a foster home in Romeoville. Police reports show that she and other teens living there often tried to run away.</p><p>In October 2010, Speed again was arrested for disorderly conduct, this time at Plainfield Central High School. She initially was sentenced to court supervision, but that sentence was revoked, and she ended up paying $260 in fines and court costs.</p><p>In 2011, Speed &mdash; then in the care of a DCFS contractor called Our Children&rsquo;s Homestead, records show &mdash; filed paperwork to change her last name to &ldquo;Edward.&rdquo; On court papers, she listed the reason for the change as &ldquo;failed adoption.&rdquo; But she never went back to court, so her name was never changed.</p><p>Speed&rsquo;s roommate Green, a cocktail server at Hollywood Casino Joliet, met Speed through their respective boyfriends, said Annetta Windman, Green&rsquo;s older sister. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think they knew each other very long,&rdquo; Windman said.</p><p>What little information Windman knows about Speed came from an &ldquo;adoptive sister&rdquo; of Speed&rsquo;s that Windman said she met at Will County court.</p><p>&ldquo;From what I understand, she was always a troubled kid,&rdquo; Windman said of Speed.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p><p><em>Chris Fusco is a </em>Sun-Times<em> staff reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/fuscochris" target="_blank">@fuscochris</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-dcfs-ward-charged-murder-110836 Morning Shift: Students square off wielding the words of August Wilson http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-02/morning-shift-students-square-wielding-words-august <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/mic for monologue Flickr sparetomato.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We sit down with the new head of the Illinois Department of Children and Family services to find out what plans she has for the agency. We get a preview of this year&#39;s August Wilson Monologue Competition. And, the music of Edward David Anderson.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-students-square-off-wielding-the-wor/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-students-square-off-wielding-the-wor.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-students-square-off-wielding-the-wor" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Students square off wielding the words of August Wilson" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 02 May 2014 08:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-02/morning-shift-students-square-wielding-words-august Morning Shift: The state of diversity on stage and screen http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-30/morning-shift-state-diversity-stage-and-screen-110104 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/White people on stage Flickr Lieven SOETE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We look at new efforts aimed at bringing diversity into comedy. Plus, Governor Quinn selects new director for DCFS. And, a little reclaimed soul.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The state of diversity on stage and screen" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-30/morning-shift-state-diversity-stage-and-screen-110104 Quinn appoints new director of Illinois child welfare system http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-appoints-new-director-illinois-child-welfare-system-110097 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/chi-bobbie-gregg-20140429.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn has chosen a former law school classmate who once worked at Chicago City Hall as the next director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.</p><p>Bobbie M. Gregg, 58, has been interim director of the state child welfare agency since February.</p><p>On Tuesday, Quinn named Gregg acting DCFS director, pending Senate confirmation of her appointment.</p><p>Quinn initially tapped Gregg to head DCFS following the resignation of the governor&rsquo;s previous pick for the post after only a month on the job. Arthur Bishop resigned following <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> and WBEZ reports that he had a theft conviction and paternity case in his past.</p><p>The top DCFS post, which pays $150,228 a year, has been a revolving door in recent months. In November. Richard Calica, who&rsquo;d been appointed following a 2011 contracting scandal, resigned as he battled cancer. He died in December. Denise Gonzales, who&rsquo;d been Calica&rsquo;s chief of staff, was interim director before Bishop&rsquo;s appointment in January.</p><p>Gregg spent four years as a lawyer for Mayor Richard M. Daley&#39;s administration in the 1990s and, before that, two years as a federal prosecutor in Chicago. She worked for corporate giants JPMorgan Chase and Aon before returning to school in 2009 and getting her master&rsquo;s degree in social work from Loyola University.</p><p>&ldquo;After working as a federal prosecutor and a long career in the private sector, she felt a strong desire to use her legal expertise and administrative experience to serve children and families,&rdquo; DCFS spokeswoman Karen Hawkins said.</p><p>Quinn attended Northwestern University&rsquo;s law school with Gregg, graduating with her in 1980.</p><p>&ldquo;They graduated in the same class at Northwestern but did not know each other well,&rdquo; said Katie Hickey, a Quinn spokeswoman.</p><p>Quinn called Gregg a &ldquo;problem-solver who brings a fresh perspective to DCFS.&rdquo;</p><p>She was chosen after a national search.</p><p>&ldquo;Numerous candidates submitted their resumes,&rdquo; Hickey said. &ldquo;Five candidates were interviewed and vetted, several of which were from out-of-state.&rdquo;</p><p>Gregg was deputy chief of DCFS&rsquo; Bureau of Operations before being named interim director in February. She had worked for the agency for about a year. She previously was an assistant director of the DuPage County Health Department.</p><p><em>Chris Fusco is a Sun-Times staff reporter. Tony Arnold is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 11:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-appoints-new-director-illinois-child-welfare-system-110097 Quinn searching nationwide for new DCFS chief http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-searching-nationwide-new-dcfs-chief-109790 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Arthur Bishop from Sun-Times.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn is doing a national search for the next chief of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in the wake of the current director resigning after only a month on the job, the governor&rsquo;s office said Thursday.</p><p>Arthur Bishop, 61, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/dcfs-chief-resigns-after-investigation-his-past-109780">submitted his resignation letter Wednesday</a> following Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ reports that revealed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dcfs-boss-pleaded-guilty-stealing-social-service-agencys-clients-109715">Bishop had a theft conviction and paternity case in his past</a>. The resignation was announced shortly after the news organizations had posted a story in which a daughter, Erica Bishop, 27, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/daughter-dcfs-chief-says-he-ignored-her-109778">questioned how Bishop could lead DCFS given that he&rsquo;d shunned her for her entire life</a> &mdash; even after DNA testing proved she was his daughter nearly 11 years ago, she said.</p><p>Quinn had picked Arthur Bishop, who formerly headed the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, to bring stability to an agency beset by financial scandal in 2011 and, more recently, furor over the abuse-and-neglect deaths of dozens of children who&rsquo;d had contact with the agency before they died.</p><p>DCFS has had four different chiefs since the start of November. Richard Calica, appointed in the wake of the 2011 contracting mess, resigned that month as he battled cancer. He died in December.</p><p>Denise Gonzales, Calica&rsquo;s chief of staff, was interim director before Bishop&rsquo;s appointment last month.</p><p>The new acting director is attorney and social worker Bobbie M. Gregg, who has worked at DCFS for about a year. Gregg, 57, is now deputy director of the agency&rsquo;s Bureau of Operations. Her appointment as interim director is to expire within 60 days.</p><p>Two key lawmakers called on Quinn to do a national search Thursday. Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said such a search had already been launched.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had a rotating door, unfortunately, in the last several months in this department. So it&rsquo;s been hard for any leadership to gain traction,&rdquo; said state Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Issues Relating to DCFS. &ldquo;I would encourage the governor to look within the state and outside the state for a director who brings some innovation along with the experience&rdquo; to run the agency.</p><p>State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who chairs the House Appropriations-Human Resources Committee, said it&rsquo;s important that Quinn&rsquo;s next pick for DCFS boss be given a chance to run the agency long-term &mdash; regardless of whether Quinn loses the November election to a Republican.<br />&ldquo;The right person would be the right person &mdash; whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a Whig or a Tory,&rdquo; Harris said.</p><p>The next director, Harris said, also should be prepared to run the agency on a tighter budget, given an anticipated drop in state revenues next year.<br />&ldquo;The safety net for these kids is going to become immensely frayed,&rdquo; he said, noting DCFS needs &ldquo;somebody who can steady the ship immediately.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Chris Fusco and Frank Main are Chicago Sun-Times staff reporters. Tony Arnold is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 10:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-searching-nationwide-new-dcfs-chief-109790 Morning Shift: The disputed legacy of Eliot Ness http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-27/morning-shift-disputed-legacy-eliot-ness-109782 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Eliot Ness2 Wikimedia Commons - Robotico.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We take a look at the battle between some U.S. Senators and Chicago aldermen over the legacy of Eliot Ness. Plus, a deeper look at the efforts to revamp how Illinois pays for education, and the music of Malian artist Habib Koite.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-disputed-legacy-of-eliot-ness/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-disputed-legacy-of-eliot-ness.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-disputed-legacy-of-eliot-ness" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The disputed legacy of Eliot Ness" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 08:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-27/morning-shift-disputed-legacy-eliot-ness-109782 DCFS chief resigns after investigation into his past http://www.wbez.org/news/dcfs-chief-resigns-after-investigation-his-past-109780 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bishop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The newly appointed director of Illinois&rsquo; child welfare system resigned Wednesday, after one month on the job.</p><p>In his <a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/Bishop_02-26-14.pdf" target="_blank">resignation letter</a>, Arthur Bishop writes that for 20 years, he&rsquo;s been dedicated to the best interest of children who are in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services.</p><p>He goes on to write, &ldquo;I am aware that we are in the midst of a contested election, and that my documented accomplishments, dedication, and almost 20 years of exemplary work are in this environment, simply irrelevant.</p><p>&ldquo;While your political rivals may be willing to attack me in an effort to obtain some modicum of political advantage, I cannot agree to be used as a distraction to the real issues that face the State and the children that remain in State custody.&rdquo;</p><p>Bishop&rsquo;s abrupt resignation comes after recent reports by WBEZ and the <em>Chicago Sun-Times </em>that looked into his past.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/child-abuse-neglect-deaths-illinois-remain-high-dcfs-involved-cases-109545" target="_blank">Child-abuse, neglect deaths in Illinois remain high in DCFS-involved cases</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>The news organizations found public records showing Bishop had <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dcfs-boss-pleaded-guilty-stealing-social-service-agencys-clients-109715" target="_blank">pleaded guilty 20 years ag</a>o to stealing from clients of his former employer, a mental health center on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. Bishop later said he only pleaded guilty to end the stress the ongoing case was causing his family.</p><p>Reporters also found Bishop had been sued 11 years ago for child support. Bishop&rsquo;s daughter, Erica, is now 27. She <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/daughter-dcfs-chief-says-he-ignored-her-109778" target="_blank">recently told WBEZ and the <em>Sun-Times</em></a> that Bishop had never been involved in her life, and she questioned whether he deserved to be in charge of the department that oversees neglected children.</p><p>Paperwork signed by Quinn and filed with the Secretary of State&rsquo;s office, indicates he&rsquo;s named another DCFS employee, Bobbie Gregg, interim director.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/dcfs-chief-resigns-after-investigation-his-past-109780 Daughter of DCFS chief says he ignored her http://www.wbez.org/news/daughter-dcfs-chief-says-he-ignored-her-109778 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bishop-cst-xxxx14-01.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><em><strong>An update to this developing story:</strong> Paperwork filed Wednesday with the Illinois Secretary of State&rsquo;s Office and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn indicates he has named a new acting director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/dcfs-chief-resigns-after-investigation-his-past-109780" target="_blank">replacing Arthur Bishop</a>.</em></p><p>A daughter of the director of the state agency overseeing the welfare of children wonders how he can do the job since he has shunned her for her entire life.</p><p>In the nearly 11 years since DNA testing proved that Arthur D. Bishop was her father, Erica Bishop has had two kids of her own &mdash; a boy and a girl who&rsquo;ve never met their grandfather.</p><p>To her, the man now charged with caring for the state&rsquo;s most troubled children is nothing more than a &ldquo;sperm donor,&rdquo; not her dad.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s supposed to be protecting the kids of the state &mdash; and you&rsquo;ve got a kid out here you never done anything for,&rdquo; Erica Bishop, now 27, says. &ldquo;He left me as a father, which I think that&rsquo;s unfair to me and it&rsquo;s unfair to my kids. . . . As far as them wanting to keep giving him higher positions to look over people&rsquo;s kids, I don&rsquo;t agree.&rdquo;</p><p>Erica Bishop agreed to be interviewed by WBEZ and the<em> Chicago Sun-Times</em> after the news organizations <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dcfs-boss-pleaded-guilty-stealing-social-service-agencys-clients-109715">disclosed earlier this month</a> that Bishop pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge in 1995 for stealing from clients of a social service agency and was sued by Erica&rsquo;s mother for back child support in a 2003 paternity case.</p><p>Quinn administration aides have said those court cases are decades old and shouldn&rsquo;t tarnish the stellar work that Arthur Bishop has done as a child advocate &mdash; from his time as a DCFS caseworker to his last job as head of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.</p><p>Erica Bishop bristles at that suggestion.</p><p>&ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t went away. I&rsquo;m never gonna go away,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;This is just something he stuck on the backburner, and I&rsquo;ve been on the backburner for [nearly] 28 years. . . . So for people to say I&rsquo;m in the past, I&rsquo;m not in the past. I&rsquo;m in the past only because nobody knows about me.</p><p>&ldquo;You supposed to be a child advocate and a minister and all this stuff. . . . I watched videos of him on YouTube. All these little boys giving him so much praise . . . sitting down and talking to him like a father. A father? Seriously? A father? He&rsquo;s sitting down telling these little boys, &lsquo;I want to talk to you. I want to have a father-to-son talk with you.&rsquo; You never had a father-and-daughter talk with me.&rdquo;</p><p>Arthur Bishop, 61, has declined interview requests. His appointment as DCFS director still must be confirmed by the Illinois Senate; no date for his confirmation hearing has been set. DCFS and the Quinn administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment.</p><p>Erica&rsquo;s mother, Yolanda O&rsquo;Connor, claimed in court filings that Arthur Bishop knew Erica was his daughter from the time she was born in 1986, while Bishop was married to his current wife.</p><p>He &ldquo;denies his own daughter&rsquo;s existence when he knows in his heart of hearts that he visited us on numerous occasions at my parents&rsquo; house when she was a child,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor, who didn&rsquo;t have an attorney, wrote in a December 2003 court filing.</p><p>Arthur Bishop maintained he&rsquo;d never met Erica and didn&rsquo;t know O&rsquo;Connor claimed Erica was his daughter until O&rsquo;Connor served him with court papers.</p><p>The case ended with O&rsquo;Connor winning a $4,175 judgment and health insurance coverage for Erica until she turned 18. But a judge denied O&rsquo;Connor&rsquo;s request for back child support after Arthur Bishop argued she&rsquo;d &ldquo;in fact concealed&rdquo; that he was Erica&rsquo;s father.</p><p>Erica Bishop recalls meeting her father when she was in high school before her mom sued him.</p><p>Her mother, she says, drove a friend and her to meet Bishop at his DCFS office at the Thompson Center, where Bishop at first mistook Erica&rsquo;s friend as his daughter even though the two &ldquo;have the same face.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He went to my friend and talked to her. And I&rsquo;m like, &lsquo;Hello? She&rsquo;s not your daughter, I am,&rsquo; &rdquo; Erica Bishop recalls. &ldquo;Honestly, I was actually excited. And he killed my excitement.&rdquo;</p><p>The five- to 10-minute encounter was the longest the two have spoken,&nbsp; but Erica Bishop has seen her father &mdash; and her half-siblings &mdash; at various times.</p><p>Arthur Bishop has lived in Maywood for years, and Erica Bishop grew up in nearby Bellwood. Erica&rsquo;s stepbrother went to the same high school as Bishop&rsquo;s son and daughter, she says.</p><p>Erica, who paid for her own college and now works as a waitress, says she would have liked the opportunity to get to know her siblings. &ldquo;Somewhere down the line, yeah, I wanted to know my brother and sister because I think we deserve to know each other. They might have kids. And I have kids,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>She also says she isn&rsquo;t interested in getting any more money from Bishop, who makes $150,000 a year as DCFS chief.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s fortunate that I did have somebody to take care of me and show me how to ride a bike and see me off to prom and go to all my graduations: high school, 8th grade, college,&rdquo; she says of the stepfather who helped raise her.</p><p>&ldquo;He has not been there for any of that,&rdquo; she says of Arthur Bishop. &ldquo;Financially, he can keep his money. He can die with it.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel like I was cheated. You took care of your other kids. Why you didn&rsquo;t take care of me? . . . All I want is an explanation.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Chris Fusco and Frank Main are </em>Sun-Times<em> staff reporters. <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">Tony Arnold</a> is a reporter for WBEZ.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 15:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/daughter-dcfs-chief-says-he-ignored-her-109778 Morning Shift: Bringing healthier food to the table http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-17/morning-shift-bringing-healthier-food-table-109716 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/by Clintus McGintus.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The new documentary &quot;Food Patriots&quot; follows a family on the search for a healthier-and more informed-way to put dinner on the table. We talk to filmmaker Jeff Spitz. And, we celebrate 50 years of &quot;The Giving Tree.&quot;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-following-america-s-food-patriots/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-following-america-s-food-patriots.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-following-america-s-food-patriots" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Bringing healthier food to the table" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 09:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-17/morning-shift-bringing-healthier-food-table-109716 New DCFS boss pleaded guilty to stealing from social service agency's clients http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dcfs-boss-pleaded-guilty-stealing-social-service-agencys-clients-109715 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IYC-JHN-040512-6_26049275.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s new director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services pleaded guilty to stealing from clients of a West Side social service agency and later became embroiled in a child-support battle over a daughter he said he never knew he&rsquo;d fathered, records show.</p><p>Arthur D. Bishop, 61, had a felony theft charge pending against him when then-Gov. Jim Edgar&rsquo;s administration hired him as a DCFS caseworker in 1995. He&rsquo;d been accused of bilking patients of the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center out of more than $9,000, fighting the case for more than two years before pleading guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor theft.</p><p><strong>Paternity case</strong></p><p>Court records also show a paternity case was filed against Bishop in 2003, when he was a DCFS deputy director. DNA tests showed he was the father of Erica Bishop, then 17.</p><p>Her mother, Yolanda O&rsquo;Connor, said Bishop knew Erica was his daughter from the time she was born in 1986. Bishop said in court papers he&rsquo;d never met the girl and didn&rsquo;t know O&rsquo;Connor claimed Erica was his daughter until she served him with court papers.</p><p>Bishop, who was married to another woman when Erica was born, &ldquo;denies his own daughter&rsquo;s existence when he knows in his heart of hearts that he visited us on numerous occasions at my parents&rsquo; house when she was a child,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor said in a December 2003 court filing. Bishop &ldquo;even asked me if he could live in with me if his wife put him out after she learned the truth. . . . All I want is for [Bishop] to just be a man about the situation and take responsibility for his child.&rdquo;</p><p>O&rsquo;Connor secured a $4,175 judgment and health insurance coverage for Erica until she turned 18, records show. But a judge denied her request for back child support after Bishop argued she&rsquo;d never sought &ldquo;support of any kind&rdquo; from him and &ldquo;in fact concealed&rdquo; that he was Erica&rsquo;s father.</p><p>Bishop declined to be interviewed for this story.</p><p><strong>Governor stands by appointment</strong></p><p>Quinn administration aides say the governor stands by his decision to make Bishop the state&rsquo;s top child-welfare official.</p><p>&ldquo;The governor appointed Arthur Bishop because of his decades of excellent work and respected leadership at the Departments of Juvenile Justice and Children and Family Services,&rdquo; Quinn press secretary Brooke Anderson said. &ldquo;The governor feels he has the right experience to lead this very difficult agency.&rdquo;</p><p>DCFS spokeswoman Karen Hawkins said: &ldquo;We believe it&rsquo;s inappropriate to raise decades-old issues that have long been resolved and have nothing to do with his performance as director.&rdquo;</p><p>Bishop, who makes $150,000 a year, takes over DCFS at a pivotal time. The agency admitted in December to undercounting the number of child-abuse and neglect deaths in Illinois following a series of Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ reports that prompted criticism of the agency from legislators and some child advocates.</p><p>The agency also has been accused of failing to keep a close eye on its finances. In December, Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued South Side businessman George E. Smith, a friend of former DCFS director Erwin McEwen, to recover millions of dollars in state grant money Smith allegedly misspent. No criminal charges have been filed.</p><p>Quinn brought in Richard H. Calica to reform the agency. But Calica died of cancer in December, and Quinn then shifted Bishop from his post heading the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice &mdash; a job he&rsquo;d held since August 2010 &mdash; back to DCFS, where he previously worked from 1995 to 2010.</p><p><strong>Early work in counseling</strong></p><p>Before his career in state government, Bishop was a substance-abuse counselor at the Bobby E. Wright center. According to his Sept. 17, 1993, arrest report, he received $9,262 from clients and failed to turn over that money to the center between May 5, 1992, and July 23, 1993.</p><p>Bishop created a &ldquo;bogus&rdquo; program for convicted drunken drivers, said Lucy Lang-Chappell, former executive director of the center, who was his boss. He was improperly taking money from patients and providing them with forms they wrongly believed would allow them to get their driver&rsquo;s licenses back, though the center wasn&rsquo;t licensed by the state to provide that service at the time, Chappell said in an interview.</p><p>She said the scheme was exposed when a patient came to the center in July 1993 with a currency exchange check the patient wrote to the center for his participation in the DUI program. The man said Bishop visited his home that day and insisted he replace the check with one written directly to Bishop, according to Chappell.</p><p>Chappell said she confronted Bishop with what the patient told her &mdash; and fired him on the spot.</p><p>The center was forced to reimburse &ldquo;a stream of patients&rdquo; for checks and cash they&rsquo;d given Bishop, Chappell said. An insurance policy eventually covered the center&rsquo;s losses, she said.</p><p>Another employee of the center also pleaded guilty in the theft, records show.</p><p>Bishop &ldquo;really betrayed me and everybody else at the agency,&rdquo; Chappell said. &ldquo;The thing that really saddens me is that this is a man who is supposed to be over children and families &mdash; and this kind of thing happened. &hellip; He did something to the patients that was totally unethical, against the rules of the agency, and we were liable.&rdquo;</p><p>Bishop has maintained that, despite his guilty plea, he was innocent of the theft allegations. At a 1994 court hearing, his lawyer said Bishop turned over the money he collected to Chappell, who says that&rsquo;s &ldquo;totally false.&rdquo; Chappell, now retired, wasn&rsquo;t accused of any wrongdoing, and other current and former Bobby Wright employees backed up her recollection of events in interviews with Sun-Times and WBEZ reporters.</p><p>In 2010, before Bishop was appointed director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, he gave a written statement to the Illinois Senate asserting that he was wrongly accused.</p><p><strong>&#39;Totally false accusation&#39;</strong></p><p>&ldquo;In 1993, following an increasingly strained professional relationship with the CEO, Dr. Lucy Lang-Chappell, resulting in a verbal disagreement regarding programming, I walked out of her office,&rdquo; Bishop wrote. &ldquo;Soon thereafter, I was informed that she had made allegations that I had stolen funds. This was a totally false accusation.&rdquo;</p><p>Bishop told the Senate he made an &ldquo;agonizing&rdquo; decision to plead guilty to the misdemeanor to end the strain on his family.</p><p>Chappell was incredulous after being read Bishop&rsquo;s statement. &ldquo;He took the money from numerous patients,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>While Bishop&rsquo;s felony case was pending &mdash; and after he was fired from the Bobby Wright center &mdash; he worked briefly at Maryville Academy before being hired as a DCFS caseworker in March 1995, records show.</p><p>When he applied to DCFS in 1994, state officials could not consider the arrest in weighing whether to hire him, according to Hawkins, who said: &ldquo;By law, under the Human Rights Act . . . DCFS is forbidden from considering arrests in making employment decisions &mdash; and this matter was still in the courts.&rdquo;</p><p>On Nov. 2, 1995, Bishop pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and was sentenced to a year of conditional discharge, records show. He didn&rsquo;t have to make restitution, Hawkins said.</p><p>&ldquo;Director Bishop has consistently disclosed the details of this guilty plea on state applications,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Bishop, an ordained minister, was in the news in the late 1990s when he was a DCFS caseworker involved in a high-profile custody battle involving the boy known as &ldquo;Baby T.&rdquo; Ald. Edward Burke (14th) and his wife Anne Burke, now an Illinois Supreme Court justice, ultimately won guardianship of the child.</p><p>O&rsquo;Connor filed the paternity case against Bishop in March 2003, with the court summons listing his Maywood home and his DCFS office. Bishop hired Marina E. Ammendola &mdash; the lawyer who represented the Burkes in the Baby T case.</p><p>O&rsquo;Connor, who didn&rsquo;t have a lawyer, said she sued Bishop to get him to help with college expenses for Erica, who&rsquo;s now a medical assistant.</p><p>&ldquo;He didn&rsquo;t want to do anything,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor said. &ldquo;He has a good heart. But my daughter wants to nail him to the cross because he&rsquo;s never been there.&rdquo;</p><p>O&rsquo;Connor said Erica&rsquo;s stepfather, not Bishop,&nbsp; &ldquo;taught her how to ride a bike, how to drive. He was there for her at prom. If [Bishop] wants to make things right, tell him to call her and talk to her. . . . Apologize.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Frank Main and Chris Fusco are Sun-Times staff reporters. Tony Arnold is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dcfs-boss-pleaded-guilty-stealing-social-service-agencys-clients-109715