From State Rep. Dan Ugaste:
Lawsuit filed in federal court against Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
The lawsuit alleges that the Department, which has legal responsibility over hundreds of children with multiple challenges that include their legal status, misused their responsibilities with regards to juveniles that required care but were subject to detention. Instead of giving these children essential and vital care services, DCFS oversaw their confinement in places of juvenile detention. The lawsuit presents evidence that the non-providing of needed care by DCFS to at-risk challenged juveniles has been and continues to be a full-pledged policy of the Department.
The class action lawsuit, filed in federal court in Chicago, demands recompense for knowingly-detained children deprived of needed care. While in juvenile detention, the children were allegedly exposed to violence and danger, including conduct perpetrated by both security guards and by their fellow detainees, which endangered them as individuals and stood in the way of their developing the psychological pathways needed for healing and care. The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff, Charles Golbert, is a court-appointed guardian in Cook County. As a professional “guardian ad litem,” Golbert is a lawyer who specializes in guardianship services for vulnerable persons.
In responding to the lawsuit, DCFS said they try to find the best care settings possible for persons under their jurisdiction. Some of these persons are children in juvenile detention. Appointed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, DCFS Director Marc Smith has been repeatedly cited by other courts for contempt of court for failing to comply with previous court orders. DCFS and Director Smith have been repeatedly sanctioned by the court for failing to place juveniles in appropriate care settings.
Governor Pritzker has failed the children of Illinois by allowing such rampant dysfunction to continue at DCFS. The agency needs to be thoroughly investigated to ensure our state’s most vulnerable children are protected.