WBEZ | DCFS http://www.wbez.org/tags/dcfs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en DCFS tells providers to prepare for 10 percent cuts as budget impasse continues http://www.wbez.org/news/dcfs-tells-providers-prepare-10-percent-cuts-budget-impasse-continues-112389 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/State-Capitol-Front-1_WBEZ_Tim-Akimoff_4.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With no signs of a long-term budget agreement, or break in the political stalemate, contractors with Illinois&rsquo; Dept. of Children and Family Services are being told to prepare for 10 percent cuts.</p><p>The threat of reduced services comes as a federal judge mandated the state continue the same level of care for vulnerable children during the ongoing impasse as it did at the end of the previous fiscal year, which ended June 30. The agency has given no indication of when the 10 percent reduction in contracts would be implemented, leaving child welfare service providers little direction for how to plan their own budgets.</p><p>The order from DCFS to its contractors does not contradict Judge Jorge Alonso&rsquo;s ruling on the existing consent decree, which was intended to provide consistency to service providers. The threat of reductions adds to the uncertainty many child welfare providers, including Children&rsquo;s Home and Aid, have faced since July 1. Those groups are now left to balance maintaining the same level of services for now, while potentially facing a condensed schedule later in the fiscal year to enact drastic cuts.</p><p>&ldquo;Where the contracts, I think, create some confusion, is while they don&rsquo;t deal immediately with July 1, they give us a number to work toward for the entire fiscal year, and that number is certainly being reduced,&rdquo; said Jassen Strokosch, with Children&rsquo;s Home and Aid.</p><p>Strokosch said his agency has contracts with DCFS to continue providing payments to foster care families or investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect in the short-term in compliance with Judge Alonso&rsquo;s mandate. But he said administrators at Children&rsquo;s Home and Aid remain unclear on several fronts, including what services would be cut, and whether its current court-mandated contracts will end if there&rsquo;s a budget agreement from state lawmakers and the governor.</p><p>Strokosch also doesn&rsquo;t know if Children&rsquo;s Home and Aid will have to eventually absorb the full 10 percent in reductions later in the fiscal year, or if it should begin implementing those cuts immediately.</p><p>&ldquo;In response to ongoing budget negotiations, we have been required to initiate steps to responsibly manage the departments (<em>sic</em>) finances and have cut contracts by 10 percent,&rdquo; DCFS spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in an emailed statement responding to questions about how the department settled on telling contractors to cut 10 percent when there hasn&rsquo;t been a set budget agreement.</p><p>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t yet know, and so we don&rsquo;t yet know, what they want to do 10 percent fewer of if that indeed would be the full amount that&rsquo;s cut for the full year&rsquo;s budget,&rdquo; said Marge Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois, which represents the political and financial interests of many DCFS contractors.</p><p>But not all observers are sure the cuts will happen.</p><p>American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ben Wolf has taken DCFS to court several times over the past few decades over the quality of services provided to youth. He said he didn&rsquo;t believe the 10 percent cuts to be &ldquo;real&rdquo; and that amount could change depending on the overall state budget that may eventually be adopted.</p><p>&ldquo;It certainly would be bad for the children if some of the better non-profit agencies started to have to feel like they can&rsquo;t plan for the future and they have to lay off staff,&rdquo; Wolf said. &ldquo;Any tentative, interim, proposed cuts that the people have heard about will not be maintained if they are inconsistent with the consent decree, which means they should not be maintained if they cause harm to children in the custody of the state.&rdquo;</p><p>Wolf said he can&rsquo;t go back to Judge Alonso over the possibility of budget cuts yet. But he&rsquo;ll be watching to see if child welfare providers end up cutting their services now in response to the threat of cuts and if those reductions in services end up violating the federal judge&rsquo;s court order that was intended to maintain a level of consistency during budget negotiations between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders Michael Madigan and John Cullerton. Both Rauner and Madigan have said they&rsquo;re open to a full state budget that reflects cuts in government services and increases in revenue, but no specific agreement has been reached.</p><p>&ldquo;The future in Illinois is somewhat uncertain but I think the protections of our consent decree are quite a bit more certain than most of the Illinois budget,&rdquo; Wolf said.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him </em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Shannon Heffernan contributed reporting to this story. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h"><em>@shannon_h</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 14:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/dcfs-tells-providers-prepare-10-percent-cuts-budget-impasse-continues-112389 'Lifebooks' help kids in foster care track their history http://www.wbez.org/news/lifebooks-help-kids-foster-care-track-their-history-112056 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/samplepage.PNG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-bda242b5-6e5f-ad4c-c29a-cae2bddb31ff">Lacy is eight years old, though that&rsquo;s not her real name. Lacy&rsquo;s adoptive mom, Rebecca McClintock, asked us to disguise her daughter&rsquo;s identity because we&rsquo;re going to be talking about her past, and a lot of it is painful.</p><p dir="ltr">Lacy came to live with McClintock as a foster child about a year and a half ago. McClintock said she got a call from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in the middle of the afternoon.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She&rsquo;s been in a foster home that wasn&rsquo;t working out and they needed to pull her from there quickly. And three hours later she was on my doorstep with her little tiny Winnie the Pooh suitcase and a caseworker and a piece of pizza,&rdquo; McClintock remembers.</p><p dir="ltr">McClintock&rsquo;s flat in La Grange, Ill., was Lacy&rsquo;s fourth home in just six years.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She remembered the last home, but not anything before that. And so she defined herself by that family and their treatment of her, and came in a lot talking about how nobody could love her and she wasn&rsquo;t worth anything and they should just throw her in the trash because nobody really needed her,&rdquo; McClintock says.</p><p dir="ltr">When I visited McClintock and Lacy at home last month, I tried to ask Lacy about that family, but she burst out crying and ran to hide under the covers of her mom&rsquo;s bed.</p><p dir="ltr">McClintock said Lacy&rsquo;s foster parents were abusive, and she has bad memories. And those can be really hard to talk about, especially for a little kid. One thing that&rsquo;s helped Lacy open up, and helped Lacy and McClintock grow closer, is something called a Lifebook.</p><p dir="ltr">One of the more popular versions of the Lifebook is published by <a href="http://www.lssi.org/">Lutheran Social Services of Illinois</a> - or LSSI.</p><p dir="ltr">Ruth Jajko is in charge of child welfare in Cook County for LSSI. I visited her at her office in Des Plaines, Ill., and she showed me an example of the book they use with the thousands of kids they work with in Illinois.</p><p dir="ltr">The binder she showed me looked a lot like a baby book. It&rsquo;s a collection of pictures, mementos and memories--the sorts of things that people who grew up with their birth parents might find tucked away in a box in the closet, or hear about from their mom or dad around the dinner table.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Lifebooks are a place to collect bits of history like that, but there&rsquo;s another purpose: The books are designed &nbsp;to give kids a way to talk about the trauma they&rsquo;ve been through. Like, at the top of one page is this prompt: &nbsp;&ldquo;Why I don&rsquo;t live with my birth parents anymore.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Below that is a heartbreaking list of options for the child to select.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It feels stark, right? [But] this page if you notice doesn&rsquo;t come at the beginning, there&rsquo;s been a lot of moving up to it,&rdquo; Jajko says.</p><p dir="ltr">About six months after Lacy came to live with McClintock, the two of them started working on a Lifebook with a woman from LSSI. McClintock says she was like a &ldquo;great detective.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She brought us letters from the first two foster homes, and the letters talked about how she as a little tiny baby would always scooch and put her head in the corner of the crib and she would sleep in the corner of the crib.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">McClintock says those little details meant the world to Lacy.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t hear anymore that nobody loved her, because she had proof that people did when she was just a few days old,&rdquo; McClintock says.</p><p dir="ltr">And It&rsquo;s real, intimate details like that that get lost for foster kids, especially ones like Lacy who are bounced around a lot.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;One of the things that&rsquo;s true about the system in Illinois is that we have a low rate of removal, meaning we don&rsquo;t bring that many kids into care.&hellip; But once we get kids into foster care we don&rsquo;t do a very good job as a state of getting them into permanency quickly, so kids tend to languish in the system too long in Illinois,&rdquo; Jajko says. &ldquo;So that means they have an extended period of time when they&rsquo;re in this kind of limbo status. &ldquo;</p><p dir="ltr">That&#39;s a critical, ongoing issue for the state, and no one&#39;s pretending lifebooks will solve that problem. But Jajko says the books can help kids grow up whole despite the turmoil.</p><p dir="ltr">And recently, Rachael Kerrick with DCFS said the department is spending about $450,000 to buy a Lifebook for every kid in the foster care system.</p><p dir="ltr">Kerrick said the Lifebook has long been a part of best practices for the agency, but they are re-emphasizing its importance and value to the workers in the field.</p><p dir="ltr">And this is the first time the department has spent the money to buy a uniform book for every kid.</p><p dir="ltr">When I told Jeanne Howard about the department&rsquo;s plan, she said she said &ldquo;Hallelujah.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Howard used to run the Center for Adoption Studies at Illinois State University. She says the only way for a child not to be haunted by her past is to confront it, and the Lifebook helps kids do just that.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Children who&rsquo;ve experienced trauma re-live it every day. Every minute of every day,&rdquo; she says.</p><p dir="ltr">And Howard says children are natural storytellers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;So when we don&rsquo;t give a kid &nbsp;information, they turn it into a story. And usually that story is about themselves. It&rsquo;s about I was such a bad baby and I cried so much that my mommy hit me and I had to be taken away,&rdquo; Howard explains.</p><p dir="ltr">Lacy&rsquo;s adoption became official in February, and McClintock says she&rsquo;s starting to trust that this is her permanent home. The two of them are forming a family together. And it&rsquo;s being built on a foundation with a little more knowledge of Lacy&rsquo;s early years.</p><p>For most people, birth parents are the keepers of their stories. Jeanne Howard says when the state takes over as a child&rsquo;s guardian, one of its fundamental responsibilities is to be a keeper of that child&rsquo;s story. To save it for them until they are ready to confront it, and explain it to them in a way that helps them grow and prosper.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 19 May 2015 17:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lifebooks-help-kids-foster-care-track-their-history-112056 Morning Shift: Summer jobs not what they used to be http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-05-07/morning-shift-summer-jobs-not-what-they-used-be-111998 <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/rafael-castillo.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/rafael-castillo" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204369933&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Education funding bill in Indiana</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The state of Indiana is sitting on a $2 billion budget surplus but yet many of its public school districts are facing financial turmoil. So much so that at least four school districts in Northwest Indiana this week needed voters to approve providing more funding. All of them - except for the Gary school district - got that approval. So, what&rsquo;s next for the struggle Gary schools now that it will be without $52 million in added funding? And why is Indiana&rsquo;s system of school funding so confusing, complex and seems to work against struggling urban school districts like Gary? Joining us to talk about these issues is WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente, and Dennis Costerison, director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">Michael Puente</a> is a WBEZ reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="http://www.indiana-asbo.org/iasbo/staff/">Dennis Costerison</a> is the Executive Director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204369926&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">DCFS Director George Sheldon</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">George Sheldon comes to Illinois&rsquo; Dept. of Children and Family Services at a shaky time. The agency has had<a href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/02/social-services-illinois"> five directors</a> in a year and a half. The turnover could be attributed to the scrutiny DCFS has been under after a series of investigative reports. Back in 2013 <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/dcfs?page=2">WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times reported</a> that more kids were dying than at any time in the past 30 years, despite being watched by state welfare officials. Late last year, Chicago Tribune reported young people at residential treatment centers across the state reported abuse, sexual assault and some ended up in prostitution. Acting Director Sheldon gets high marks for turning around a troubled agency in Florida, but can he turn around an Illinois&rsquo; Dept. that&rsquo;s so in need of reform? We talk to Sheldon.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/director/Documents/management_team_bios.pdf">George Sheldon</a> is the Acting Director of the <a href="http://www.illinois.gov/dcfs/Pages/default.aspx">Illinois Department of Children and Family Services</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204369919&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Summer jobs not what they used to be</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">For decades, college students could pay for a whole semester of tuition with the money earned from a summer job. From camp counselors to mowing lawns to working retail, there were a range of jobs you could pick up for the summer, bust your butt and make a nice chunk of cash. Those days are gone. Loyola University professor Al Gini takes us through the modern realities of the summer job scene.&nbsp;Looking for a summer gig? One Summer Chicago aims to bring together government institutions, community-based organizations and companies to offer over 24,000 employment and internship opportunities to youth and young adults ages 14 to 24. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.onesummerchicago.org/">onesummerchicago.org.</a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/Loyola_Gini">Al Gini</a> is a professor at <a href="https://twitter.com/LoyolaChicago">Loyola University.</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204369915&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Chicago hosts Young Adult Book Fest</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Remember the days of constantly seeing young people buried in their hardcover Harry Potter book? It was a huge phenomenon and middle school students and young teens couldn&rsquo;t get their hands on the latest copy fast enough. And then something happened- their older siblings, and even parents, wanted to read the books, too. Young adult literature is not such a strict genre anymore. Film franchises like The Hunger Games and Divergent have made them popular for a larger set of readers and authors are becoming more adventurous about what they&rsquo;re tackling in their books. This weekend, authors and fans will converge on the city for the first ever<a href="http://www.bookcellarinc.com/event/CYABookFest2015"> Chicago Young Adult Book Fest</a>, a place for authors, readers and fans to come together and talk about the genre. Ted Geoglein, author of The Cold Fury trilogy, organized the fest and he gives us a preview.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="http://www.tmgoeglein.com/">Ted Geoglein</a> is the author of <a href="http://www.tmgoeglein.com/index.php/books">&quot;The Cold Fury&quot; </a>series.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/BookCellar">Suzy Takacs</a> is the owner of <a href="http://t.co/dKqjgcyByf">The Book Cellar</a> in Lincoln Square.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 07 May 2015 07:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-05-07/morning-shift-summer-jobs-not-what-they-used-be-111998 Cook County demands payment from state for kids left waiting in jail http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-demands-payment-state-kids-left-waiting-jail-111702 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/JTDC Juvenile 4_WBEZ_Bill Healy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the first time ever, Cook County is sending a bill to the State of Illinois for the cost of holding state wards left waiting at the juvenile jail by the Department of Children and Family Services.</p><p>The decision to demand reimbursement is part of a larger push back by the county against the human and financial costs of the failures of the state&rsquo;s child welfare agency.</p><p>It comes after a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-child-welfare-system-leaves-kids-stuck-jail-111576">recent WBEZ investigation</a> found that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) routinely leaves hundreds of kids stuck behind bars for weeks, or even months, after a judge has said they can go home. Because they are wards of the state, the kids can&rsquo;t leave the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center until the department finds them proper placement.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-judge-takes-action-kids-left-jail-after-wbez-investigates-111680">Federal Judge takes action on kids left in jail by DCFS</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;The message is that we don&rsquo;t care about them, and that we think their liberty isn&rsquo;t an important issue. And I think that&rsquo;s a terrible message to send to young people,&rdquo; said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.</p><p>And Preckwinkle said it&rsquo;s a financial burden for the county.</p><p>&ldquo;The obligation of every executive is to run their unit of government to the best of your ability. And that means you don&rsquo;t cost-shift your financial obligations and burdens,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Preckwinkle said the impact on children is her main concern, &ldquo;but the money is not a trivial matter either.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s why Preckwinkle said she is glad to hear that outgoing Cook County Juvenile Detention Center administrator Earl Dunlap is sending a bill to the state.</p><p>&ldquo;And I&rsquo;d be happy to second the motion,&rdquo; Preckwinkle said.</p><p>The invoice being sent to DCFS covers just two months&mdash;December and January&mdash;and it comes to $232,750.</p><p>The invoice is for 41 DCFS wards who spent a combined 665 days in jail after a judge told them they were free to go.</p><p>The juvenile jail is in Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele&rsquo;s district. And he recognizes that at that rate, the cost could amount to $1.5 million a year.</p><p>&ldquo;So that&rsquo;s a huge burden to Cook County and its taxpayers,&rdquo; Steele said.</p><p>Along with the invoice is <a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/258641119/Letter-from-Earl-Dunlap-to-DCFS" target="_blank">a letter from juvenile jail administrator Dunlap to DCFS Director George Sheldon</a>. In it, Dunlap blasts the department for the &ldquo;agency&rsquo;s willful disregard to juveniles&rsquo; constitutional rights.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Prolonged stays at [the juvenile jail] for children awaiting DCFS placement &hellip; can cause lasting damage to a youth,&rdquo; Dunlap wrote.</p><p>Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans oversees the juvenile jail. He said he&rsquo;s not particularly concerned about which agency foots the bill.</p><p>&ldquo;The counties pull from the same taxpayers that pay the taxes on a statewide basis, so the main thing is that we don&rsquo;t want taxpayers to have to pay for anything unnecessarily,&rdquo; Evans said.</p><p>WBEZ interviewed Evans in late February. He said on the day of the interview there were 12 state wards in the juvenile jail waiting on DCFS.</p><p>&ldquo;Many of them are suffering already &hellip; many of them, they&rsquo;ve been abused and neglected on one side and then they engage in some delinquent conduct on the other side. And so they&rsquo;re already subjected to trauma in many instances and having them stay longer in a place they shouldn&rsquo;t be in just exacerbates the problem,&rdquo; Evans said.</p><p>DCFS spokesman Andrew Flach says his department has not yet received the invoice. But he&rsquo;s acknowledged the issue, and said he believes the agency&rsquo;s new leader will bring stability to the department.</p><p>&ldquo;The governor has made it a priority to help turn the agency around, and that&rsquo;s bringing someone in like Director George Sheldon &hellip;&nbsp; to help us get the job done,&rdquo; Flach said.</p><p>Cook County&rsquo;s demand for repayment comes at a particularly bad time for the state government. Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling for massive cuts to close a multi-billion dollar budget gap.</p><p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">Patrick Smith</a> is a WBEZ producer and reporter.</em></p></p> Sun, 15 Mar 2015 06:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-demands-payment-state-kids-left-waiting-jail-111702 Federal judge takes action on kids left in jail after WBEZ investigates http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-judge-takes-action-kids-left-jail-after-wbez-investigates-111680 <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/new%20JTDC%20Bill%20Healy%203.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The Cook County Juvenile Center. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is agreeing to let outside experts monitor the department&rsquo;s placement practices and inspect its residential treatment centers.</p><p>Judge Jorge Alonso signed off on the interim plan in federal court on Tuesday. The agreement is in response to an emergency motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.</p><p>The experts, Dr. Alan Morris and Deann Muehlbauer of the University of Illinois at Chicago, will inspect residential treatment centers, interview state wards and provide monthly reports on the practices and progress of the department.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s just some immediate steps to begin to address the serious problems that we&rsquo;ve raised in our emergency motion,&rdquo; said ACLU attorney Ben Wolf.</p><p>One of the groups meant to be helped by the interim plan are kids who are stuck waiting behind bars because the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can&rsquo;t find an appropriate place for them to live.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-child-welfare-system-leaves-kids-stuck-jail-111576">A recent WBEZ investigation</a> found that over a three-year period there were almost 350 instances in which a young person waited a week or more in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center because DCFS couldn&rsquo;t place him. The longest wait was 190 days.</p><p>&ldquo;As WBEZ reported, there are children trapped in correctional settings when they&rsquo;ve been ordered released and I represent some of those children &hellip; and that&rsquo;s a horrible thing,&rdquo; Wolf said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve talked to some of those kids who are ordered released and then they&rsquo;re still in a locked juvenile detention facility only because their state parent, the department, doesn&rsquo;t have some place for them to live. I mean that&rsquo;s really inexcusable and I&rsquo;d like to start with those kinds of kids and see what we can do for them.&rdquo;</p><p>At the same time, a <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/rtc/">recent series by the Chicago Tribune</a> highlighted abuse and unsafe conditions at several residential treatment centers that provide care for state wards.</p><p>&ldquo;The first steps are to start to look at the most troubled residential treatment centers and to figure out if we need to close them [or] if we can provide technical assistance to fix them,&rdquo; Wolf said. &ldquo;And if we can&rsquo;t where the kids will go.&rdquo;</p><p>Wolf acknowledged that these competing problems make for a tough situation for the department. Closing troubled residential treatment centers will mean even less available beds for the kids stuck waiting in jail or in psychiatric hospitals for placement.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re gonna be struggling with shortages, and we&rsquo;re going to be gluing together packages of services and placements that are the best we can do but are not perfect, and we have to be realistic about that,&rdquo; Wolf said. &ldquo;I think the solution has to be intensive services in home-like settings.&rdquo;</p><p>DCFS spokesman Andrew Flach said in a statement that the department is &ldquo;encouraged&rdquo; by the interim agreement with the ACLU and looks forward to working with it and other stakeholders to &ldquo;ensure the agreement is implemented to the satisfaction of the court and the children and families we serve.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">Patrick Smith</a> is a WBEZ producer.</em></p></p> Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-judge-takes-action-kids-left-jail-after-wbez-investigates-111680 Illinois' child welfare system leaves kids stuck in jail http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-child-welfare-system-leaves-kids-stuck-jail-111576 <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/Screen%20Shot%202015-02-17%20at%207.25.53%20PM.png" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Youth at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center at an event in 2014. A WBEZ investigation found that kids spend weeks, or even months, in the jail because DCFS can’t find a place for them to live. (Photo courtesy of Bill Healy)" /></div><p>There&rsquo;s a kid in the Cook County juvenile jail right now who isn&rsquo;t supposed to be there. A judge ordered his release on January 29.</p><p>Because he is a juvenile, WBEZ isn&rsquo;t using his name, but his problem is not unique. Even after a judge has ordered their release, lots of kids wait weeks, even months to be picked up.</p><p>Their deadbeat guardian is the State of Illinois, and these kids are stuck in juvenile jail because the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can&rsquo;t find a place to put them.</p><p>A WBEZ analysis of data from Cook County found that in the three-year period between October 2011 and October 2014, there were 344 instances when kids waited a week or more in the jail for DCFS to come pick them up.</p><p>Last year the longest wait was 190 days&mdash;more than half the year.</p><p>And it&rsquo;s not just that there are a lot of young people waiting. They are waiting specifically because of the failures of DCFS.</p><p>Kids get sent to the juvenile jail for a number of reasons. Some are waiting for trial, others are serving a punishment. No matter who they are or why they&rsquo;re there, kids can&rsquo;t leave unless someone comes to take custody of them.</p><p>The data doesn&rsquo;t account for how many of the 344 times involved the same kid held more than once, so to check on daily counts, we asked jail staff to give us a snapshot of every kid who was waiting to be picked up. On the day we asked, Oct. 16, 2014, there were 19 kids in the jail who had been ordered released by a judge and were just waiting on a guardian to pick them up.</p><p>Thirteen were waiting for DCFS.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it sends a very disturbing message to a child to say there&rsquo;s no reason for you to be held in detention, but we&rsquo;re not working hard enough, or we&rsquo;re not making you enough of a priority to find a place for you to go,&rdquo; said Bruce Boyer, the director of the Civitas Childlaw Clinic at Loyola University Chicago.</p><p>&rdquo;We&rsquo;re talking about children that a judge has looked at their case and said, &lsquo;There&rsquo;s no risk here. This child should be at home or in a community based setting, whether it&rsquo;s a foster home or somewhere else.&rsquo; So, that&rsquo;s incredibly disruptive to the child,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Antoine Brown has lived through that disruption.</p><p>Brown is 25 now and lives in Marion, Illinois. But when he was 14, Brown spent about six months in Cook County&rsquo;s juvenile jail waiting for DCFS to find him a bed.</p><p>&ldquo;It kinda like crushes your spirit so you&rsquo;ll be like ... I don&rsquo;t care anymore so I&rsquo;m just gonna act out and do whatever I want to do,&rdquo; Brown said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s hell. I mean, if you&rsquo;re not a cool person then you get picked on.&rdquo;</p><p>Jennifer Vollen Katz with prison watchdog John Howard Association says Brown&rsquo;s frustration is typical for kids stuck in jail.</p><p>&ldquo;You will see the behavior begin to deteriorate, because that&rsquo;s just an incredibly high level of frustration for a young person to grapple with,&rdquo; Vollen Katz said.</p><p>Vollen Katz says that&rsquo;s especially bad because this is a population at a crucial point. The choices they&mdash;and their caregivers&mdash;make will decide if these kids move on from a troubled childhood to become successful adults, or get stuck in the so-called prison pipeline.</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/Screen%20Shot%202015-02-17%20at%207.26.47%20PM.png" style="height: 411px; width: 620px;" title="The outside of the Cook County juvenile jail at Roosevelt and Hamilton. (Photo courtesy of Bill Healy)" /></div><p>&ldquo;The system has failed them time and again, so for the system to tell them, if you do this then you&rsquo;re gonna get to go and for that not to actually happen, I think is just another indicator that trusting authority is probably not a safe bet for some of these kids,&quot; Vollen Katz said. &quot;And that&rsquo;s not a message we want to be giving them.&quot;</p><p>Boyer says many of the kids forced to wait have been in the child care system for most of their lives. Often they&rsquo;ve been abused or neglected, passed from foster home to foster home.</p><p>That means most of these young men and women truly have special needs.</p><p>&ldquo;These are the needs that really require treatment, whether it&rsquo;s counseling or other kinds of services. And these are the sorts of things that frankly are just not available in the detention center,&rdquo; Boyer said.</p><p>DCFS spokesman Andrew Flach says the department is aware of kids languishing in jail, but right now the department isn&rsquo;t planning any changes to fix it.</p><p>Flach says more money would help, but the state also needs more well-run residential treatment centers able to care for these children.</p><p>Flach believes leadership from new Director George Sheldon will eventually fix problems like kids waiting in jail.</p><p>Loyola&rsquo;s Bruce Boyer says the best way to address the problem is to keep kids out of jail in the first place.</p><p>&ldquo;If we had resources for dealing with kids who get into conflict with the law, that would allow us to find placements in the community for them that would be a lot less expensive than maintaining kids in a very expensive detention facility,&rdquo; Boyer said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know how we break out of this cycle, but we have to figure out a way &hellip; to be more farsighted.&rdquo;</p><p>Cook County estimates that it costs more than $500 a day to house one person in the juvenile temporary detention center.</p><p>And those instances when kids waited a week or more&mdash;the time they spent waiting on DCFS adds up to more than 7,300 days in Cook County juvenile jail.</p><p>That&rsquo;s almost $4 million taxpayer dollars spent over three years.</p><p>And for all that money, the kids didn&rsquo;t get special counseling or intensive therapy. Instead, they got all the wrong lessons about the justice system, and a pretty direct message that they don&rsquo;t matter. At least not enough.</p><p><em><a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">Patrick Smith</a> is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Angela Caputo also contributed reporting for this story.</em></p></p> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-child-welfare-system-leaves-kids-stuck-jail-111576 Morning Shift: A closer look at state's DCFS http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-17/morning-shift-closer-look-states-dcfs-111571 <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/jimbowen0306.jpg" style="height: 511px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/jimbowen0306" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191617117&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Affordable Care Act extended enrollment&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Due to a system-wide glitch, Illinois residents who were unable to register for health coverage via the Affordable Care Act will have additional time to do so. The deadline for ACA health coverage has been extended to Feb. 22 in order to accommodate all residents seeking coverage who weren&#39;t able to register by the original Feb. 15 deadline due to the technical issue. Get Covered Illinois Policy Director Laura Phelan tells us what we need to know. Additional information can be found <a href="https://getcoveredillinois.gov/special-enrollment-periods/">here.</a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/laurajp">Laura Phelan </a>is the Policy Director with <a href="https://twitter.com/CoveredIllinois">Get Covered Illinois.</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191617114&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Update on state&#39;s childcare funding</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Among the many immediate fiscal challenges facing Gov. Rauner is the funding of subsidized day care for low income families. The state is $300 million short for funding a program that nearly 100,000 families depend on to send their kids to daycare. Daycare providers depend on that same money to operate and pay their bills. Tuesday morning, child care providers will march to nearby parks to highlight what they see as a crisis facing their businesses and the families they serve. We&rsquo;ll talk about the issue with Maria Whelan from the Illinois Action for Children and 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/rodericktsawyer">Roderick Sawyer</a> is the city&#39;s <a href="https://twitter.com/6thwardchicago">6th Ward </a>Alderman</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="http://www.actforchildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=About_Leadership">Maria Whelan</a> is the President and CEO of <a href="http://www.actforchildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Home">Illinois Action for Children&nbsp;</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191617113&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Chicago celebrate Paczki Day</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Paczki Day could be considered one of Chicagoland&#39;s most anticipated days for sweet treats. We talk about the significance of the Polish pastry Paczki with general manager Luke Karl of Dinkle&#39;s Bakery in Lakeview.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;Luke Karl is the GM of <a href="http://www.dinkels.com/">Dinkle&#39;s Bakery</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191617111&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">A closer look at state&#39;s DCFS</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">A series of reports from Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ&rsquo;s Tony Arnold found that the number of Illinois children dying from abuse and neglect remains high &ndash; even after the state&rsquo;s child welfare agency had been involved with the child&rsquo;s family. And Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has vowed to &ldquo;transform&rdquo; Illinois&rsquo; troubled Department of Children and Family Services. Just last week he tapped a Florida Democrat George Sheldon to lead DCFS. As Illinois residents prepare to hear from the Gov. about all his fiscal priorities for the state, Chicago Sun-Times&rsquo; Becky Schlikerman and Tony Arnold take a closer look at the deaths of kids in the state, and the political hurdles Rauner faces in reforming the agency.*Warning - this story has some troubling descriptions that could be difficult for sensitive listeners. Read the investigative story, <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/372950/59-children-59-stories-agencys-report-deaths">here.</a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">Tony Arnold</a> is a WBEZ reporter.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/schlikerman">Becky Schlickerman</a> is a Chicago Sun-Times reporter.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191617110&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Honoring Dr. Julian H. Lewis</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Dr. Julian H. Lewis was the first African-American to earn a PHD and later to teach at the University of Chicago. In doing so, he became a mentor to students of color for generations to come as well as a cherished member of the U of C faculty. As part of a Black History Month tribute and extension of online exhibition &ldquo;Integrating the life of the mind: A history of African Americans at the University of Chicago,&rdquo; Lewis&rsquo;s life and legacy will be honored at an&nbsp;<a href="http://arts.uchicago.edu/event/life-and-legacy-dr-julian-herman-lewis">event </a>on Saturday hosted by U of C&rsquo;s Civic Knowledge Project and various partners. One of the event&rsquo;s featured scholars Tyrone Haymore along with U of C&rsquo;s Bart Schultz and Dr. Lewis&rsquo;s son John O. Lewis join us now.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;John O. Lewis is the son of Dr. Julian H. Lewis.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="http://civicknowledge.uchicago.edu/contact.shtml">Bart Schultz</a>&nbsp;is the Director of the <a href="http://civicknowledge.uchicago.edu/index.shtml">Civic Knowledge Project </a>and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Tyrone Haymore is the founder and curator of the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robbins-Historical-Society-Museum/137516289752407">Robbins Historial Society.</a>&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 07:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-17/morning-shift-closer-look-states-dcfs-111571 How will deaths by child abuse, neglect move Rauner's budget? http://www.wbez.org/news/how-will-deaths-child-abuse-neglect-move-rauners-budget-111569 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Amierah%20Roberson.jpg" style="float: right; height: 415px; width: 300px;" title="Amierah Roberson, 19 months, died March 2014 from abusive head trauma. Her body was found in the woods after being set on fire. Her mother's boyfriend was charged." />The number of Illinois children dying from abuse and neglect remains high even after the state&rsquo;s child welfare agency had been involved with the child&rsquo;s family, according to a new analysis from WBEZ and the <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em>.</p><p>It comes as Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has vowed to &ldquo;transform&rdquo; the state&rsquo;s long-troubled Department of Children and Family Services.</p></div><p>Rauner made child deaths a major issue during his campaign for governor. His campaign put out a dramatic television commercial:</p><p>&ldquo;They were just children. Our most vulnerable with their whole lives ahead. Lives cut short tragically, senselessly from abuse, neglect while in the care of Pat Quinn&rsquo;s administration,&rdquo; the voiceover narrator intoned.</p><p>Rauner&rsquo;s campaign used numbers analyzed by WBEZ and the <em>Sun-Times</em> to attack his opponent, then-Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn.</p><p>Quinn called the ad &ldquo;despicable,&rdquo; and said it was a new low to say the governor is responsible for the deaths of children when the state intervenes with troubled families.</p><p>Rauner won election, and now the responsibility he laid on Quinn&mdash;falls to Rauner himself.</p><p><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 22px; line-height: 22px;">Children in state&#39;s system have complex lives</span></font></p><p>Child welfare is complicated and far-reaching.</p><p>The <em><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/rtc/" target="_blank">Chicago Tribune</a></em> has been documenting abuses at residential treatment centers for older youth. And there hasn&rsquo;t been consistent leadership at DCFS in more than a year. Rauner just recently named George Sheldon from Florida to lead the agency. Child welfare advocates like Ben Wolf say if Rauner wants to transform DCFS, he has to be mindful of these issues in addition to things like foster care, mental health and juvenile detention.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/372802/29-kids-among-illinois-child-welfare-agencys-faces-failure" target="_blank">29 more kids among Illinois child-welfare agency&rsquo;s faces of failure</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;We have to have the right priorities with money in order to get the right people,&rdquo; said Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who monitors DCFS through a court-ordered consent decree.</p><p>Rauner is scheduled to propose how much money should go toward DCFS and other state agencies Wednesday. He faces a big budget hole for all of state government. A spokeswoman for the governor&rsquo;s office said Rauner will propose a reasonable budget to turn around the agency, and that he&rsquo;s expanding the role of the national Casey Family Programs in Illinois&rsquo; child welfare.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 22px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 22px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; display: inline !important; float: none;">Child deaths by neglect and abuse</span></p><p>As Rauner finishes his budget, we wanted to give him an up-to-date picture of what he faces with DCFS. WBEZ worked with the <em>Sun-Times</em> once again to look at child deaths. The most current information available is from last July, well before Rauner won election.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="550" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/LGk76/1/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>We found 29 Illinois kids died from abuse or neglect after DCFS had investigated claims of problems at home or involving caretakers of those children.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a number that&rsquo;s held steady over the last couple of years.</p><p>We reviewed documents about children who died from neglect in situations like unsafe sleeping conditions.</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s abuse.</p><p>We found 10 instances of child abuse that resulted in death &mdash; again, even though state child welfare workers had already been involved with the family or caregiver.</p><p>That&rsquo;s down a little bit from previous years, but the cases are no less shocking.</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/Jakariah%20Patterson.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Jakarriah Patterson, 2, died March 2014. Her father was charged with murder. The little girl was found with dozens of bruises on her body" />It&rsquo;s tragedies like that of 2-year-old Jakarriah Patterson that Gov. Rauner will have to consider as he thinks about where to prioritize DCFS in the budget.</div><p>Jakarriah&rsquo;s father, Jeremiah Thompson, called 911 on March 19, 2014, from his home in south suburban Lansing, to report his daughter was not responsive.</p><p>&ldquo;Wake up, baby. Wake up,&rdquo; Thompson is heard saying on the 911 call.</p><p>A year before Jakarriah&rsquo;s death, DCFS found Thompson to have caused bruising to Jakarriah&rsquo;s face and buttocks and scratches to her back.</p><p>Cook County prosecutors later charged Thompson in Jakarriah&rsquo;s death.</p><p>Police reports say after she died, Thompson was haunted by Jakarriah calling for him and he put toilet paper in his ears while in a holding cell.</p><p>Thompson told the police he would sometimes hit Jakarriah for things like going into a room she wasn&rsquo;t supposed to.</p><p>Jakarriah had been living with her mother, Karla Patterson, but when Patterson was put out of her mother&rsquo;s home in Wisconsin, she made the fateful decision to give Jakarriah to Thompson.</p><p>There are 28 other cases we found in which DCFS had contact with the family or caretakers before the child died from abuse or neglect.</p><p>Among them is that of 19-month-old Amierah Roberson. A daycare worker reported to DCFS that Amierah had bruises and scratches. DCFS was still investigating those claims a month later, when her mother&rsquo;s boyfriend allegedly beat Amierah to death and then burned her body.</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/Anterio%20K.%20Schlieper%20.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Anterio K. Schlieper, 4 months, died June 2014. His body was found after he had been co-sleeping with his parents. Both parents admitted to smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol before going to sleep. Both parents pleaded guilty to endangering the health and life of a child, a misdemeanor, court records show." />There&rsquo;s also 4-month-old Anterio Schlieper.</div><p>The DCFS inspector general said the agency investigated his parents in Moline, Illinois, four times in two years and even requested an order of supervision for the kids in the house.</p><p>But the Rock Island State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s office did not agree and the order wasn&rsquo;t granted. Anterio was found unresponsive in the morning after his parents had taken him into their bed at night.</p><p>They admitted to police they had drunk alcohol and smoked marijuana before going to sleep. Both pleaded guilty to charges related to Anterio&rsquo;s death.</p><p>&ldquo;I think this is the time when the new governor has to decide if his priority is compassion toward our most powerless citizens or is reducing spending,&rdquo; said Ben Wolf with the ACLU.</p><p>Wolf said former Gov. Rod Blagojevich politicized DCFS about 10 years ago, and it&rsquo;s been deteriorating ever since. Wolf said he&rsquo;ll be watching Gov. Rauner&rsquo;s budget recommendations for DCFS to see how Rauner intends to undo that history.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>. Chris Fusco and Becky Schlikerman are reporters for the Chicago Sun-Times. Follow them <a href="https://twitter.com/fuscochris" target="_blank">@fuscochris</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/schlikerman" target="_blank">@schlikerman</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 19:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-will-deaths-child-abuse-neglect-move-rauners-budget-111569 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