CHICAGO (AP) – In a stunning move, a Cook County Juvenile Court judge issued two contempt of court orders against Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Director Marc Smith for violating the rights of two children left languishing in facilities for months.
DCFS could soon be fined as much as $2,000 a day until those children are properly placed.
The court order describes how a 9-year-old girl suffered years of physical and sexual abuse at home.
Then after entering DCFS care, she was put into a psychiatric hospital. She was medically ready to be discharged back in June 2021, but she’s still hospitalized.
A judge wrote DCFS disobeyed numerous court orders to get the child out of the hospital in October and November. This is why DCFS Director Smith is being held in contempt.
The girl has been confined in the psychiatric hospital for 221 days since the date she was supposed to be discharged.
The other case involves a 13-year-old boy with “severe mental health issues” who was forced to sleep in a utility room before he was placed in a temporary housing shelter in Mount Vernon, about five hours away from Chicago.
The shelter was supposed to be a “temporary” placement of no more than 30 days, but he’s been there now for more than 145 days.