DCFS director held in contempt for 7th time in 10 weeks

DCFS director held in contempt for 7th time in 10 weeks

By BETH HUNDSDORFER
Capitol News Illinois
bhundsdorfer@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD – For the seventh time in 10 weeks, a Cook County judge found Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith in contempt for failing to comply with a court order.

DCFS was ordered by a judge in March 2021 to move a 16-year-old boy who has low intellectual functioning and cognitive delays from his temporary shelter to a placement to meet his needs, according to the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office, who represents the boy in court.

Despite a court order entered a year prior and the agency’s own recommendation for a residential placement appropriate for him and his abilities, the boy remains in a temporary placement.

“This boy has spent every major holiday in the last year stuck in a place unable to provide him the care and nurturing he needs,” stated a release from Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert’s office.

On Thursday, Cook County Judge Patrick T. Murphy found Smith in contempt for failing to move the boy and fined him $1,000 a day for every day the boy remains in temporary housing. The fine was stayed until March 24.

“DCFS and our private partners have aggressively been attempting to locate homes for those children. They had been doing it for months. There was no ignoring of the need of those children. And the truth is it takes a lot of negotiation with many providers for them to be able to develop the resources to care for those individual children,” Smith told a Senate appropriations committee on Thursday.

It was hours before Smith faced a seventh contempt order from Murphy. In two of the seven cases, the contempt order was purged when the kids were placed in their recommended setting. Those two cases involved:

An 8-year-old girl placed in a locked psychiatric hospital unnecessarily for more than seven months.
A 13-year-old boy kept in a “temporary” shelter in Mt. Vernon – nearly five hours away from his family – for nearly five months. Before the shelter, DCFS placed him in a utility room in an office.

In the other four previous cases, the contempt order remains in place and the children remain in their present settings. Those cases involve:

A 17-year-old boy who was placed in a locked psychiatric hospital for more than four months beyond medical necessity.
A 16-year-old girl housed in 25 different places in two months, including hospitals, emergency shelters, a shelter in Indiana, and temporary foster homes. Before that, she was in a locked psychiatric hospital for nearly two months after it was recommended that she be moved.
An 11-year-old girl medically approved for discharge from a locked psychiatric hospital for nearly a year waiting for a transfer to a residential placement.
A 15-year-old girl placed in a locked psychiatric hospital since December 6, 2021 – approximately three months waiting for transfer to a specialized foster home.

Each of the seven children in these cases is represented by the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office. The orders for contempt were signed by Judge Murphy, who served for 25 years as the Cook County Public Guardian.

DCFS has placed 356 children statewide in inappropriate settings for an average of 55 days, Golbert said. There were so many children that Murphy, the presiding judge over the child protection division, created a separate “beyond medical necessity” or “stuck kids” docket.

A court order in one of the contempt of court cases filed against Smith noted that in 2020, DCFS had 314 wards in psychiatric hospitals beyond the date of discharge. In 2014, there were 75 DCFS wards in mental health facilities beyond the date of discharge. That number doubled in 2015 to 168.

Golbert has said that holding a state agency director in contempt of court is extraordinarily rare. In the more than 30 years that he has been practicing in juvenile court, he could not recall a single prior instance where a judge held the DCFS director in contempt. 

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

The Worth Public Library, 6917 W. 111th St., has a free Seed Library available to patrons. (Supplied photo)

Worth Library offers seeds for free

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White A seed library collects and stores seeds and shares them with members of the community for free. Similar to a normal library, gardeners borrow seeds from the seed library at planting time. At the end of the growing seasons, they save seeds from the plants and return a portion of…

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer joins Girl Scout Gold Award winners (from left) Maddie DeBleyzer, Aine Kelly and Lilly O'Dea during the village board meeting on Tuesday night. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizza eyes May opening in Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Paisans Pizzeria is a step closer to opening in Oak Lawn with the approval of a liquor license for the establishment that will be part of the Stony Creek Promenade. Plans for the restaurant were originally approved at an Oak Lawn Village Board meeting in March of 2022. Tom Phelan,…

Palos Park resident Nick Hoffman said his patience is wearing out with noise and parking problems caused by the Palos Islamic Center.

Palos Park residents, mosque reps discuss noise issues at council meeting

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva What could have been an explosive situation was actually quite civil. Some Palos Park residents were angry about loud activity and behavior of some members of the Palos Islamic Center the past two years and sounded off at the April 8 village council meeting. Fresh on their minds was noise…

The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Comings & Goings: Obbie’s Pizza to stay ‘unique and delicious’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Archer Avenue’s long-time king of pizzerias will continue to rule. Same recipes at Obbie’s Pizza, 6654 W. Archer. Same pizza and ingredients. Same pasta, broasted chicken, shrimp, perch, Italian beef/sausage/meatball sandwiches, sides and pop. Same seasoned, Middleby Marshall pizza oven built in 1947—the type of pizza oven every restaurant owner…

stickney health district logo

Stickney Public Health confirms measles case in Bedford Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Stickney Public Health District has confirmed that a person with measles related to the ongoing situation in the City of Chicago was at the Walmart Supercenter at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. in Bedford Park on Friday, March 22, roughly between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. Anybody who…

Endless Summerfest in La Grange’s Gordon Park will not be held this year, sponsors have announced. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

La Grange cancels Endless Summerfest over higher costs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It turns out the summer is not endless, at least not in La Grange. Endless Summerfest, a three-day event held the first weekend in August at Gordon Park for many years, will not be held this year. The cancelation was announced Tuesday in a joint new release from the La…

regional orland park police logo

Midlothian man arrested for Orland Park carjacking

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom wire reports The Orland Park Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect in a vehicular hijacking that occurred on the evening of April 3. Shawn Flores, a 44-year-old Midlothian resident, faces charges following his apprehension on April 4. The incident began when a male victim was forcibly removed from his vehicle…

big PoliceLights1

Blotter: Evergreen Park police issue scam alert

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Evergreen Park Police Department is warning the public of an ongoing scam where a caller claims to be an Evergreen Park Police Officer, and instructs the individual to send money in order to avoid criminal charges. In some versions of this scam, the offenders tell individuals they missed a court date related…

The Palos South eighth-grade Girls Volleyball Team is: Top row (left to right) Dorian Urquizo, Annika Hock, Maja Pszczola, Elaina Yasin, Hannah Koenig, Makaleigh Terry, Maya Surdel, Brooklyn Parr, Maggie Purtill, Coach Marty Duggan. Bottom row (left to right) are Raliyah Bruce, Sarah Cairo, Sofia Wilson, Katy Zumerchik, Khadija Faisal, Alexa Morales. (Supplied photos)

Palos South eighth-grade girls volleyballers go undefeated

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports Palos South’s eighth-grade girls’ volleyball team finished first in the Southwest Interscholastic Conference (SWIC) on March 9, completing an undefeated season with a record of 19-0. This is the fifth straight year that Coach Marty Duggan has led the Cardinals to a first-place finish in the tournament, which was held…

Members of the Moraine Valley Community College Speech and Debate Team are competing at nationals. (Supplied photo)

Moraine Valley Speech and Debate Team headed to nationals to defend title

Spread the love

Spread the loveWhen the Moraine Valley Community College Speech and Debate Team heads to the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament in Reno, Nevada, for nine days this month, they’ll have a target on their back as incoming consecutive champions. But they’re ready. “Last year’s team was amazing. Everyone was on their A game. This year…

Neighbors

The Worth Public Library, 6917 W. 111th St., has a free Seed Library available to patrons. (Supplied photo)

Worth Library offers seeds for free

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White A seed library collects and stores seeds and shares them with members of the community for free. Similar to a normal library, gardeners borrow seeds from the seed library at planting time. At the end of the growing seasons, they save seeds from the plants and return a portion of…

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer joins Girl Scout Gold Award winners (from left) Maddie DeBleyzer, Aine Kelly and Lilly O'Dea during the village board meeting on Tuesday night. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizza eyes May opening in Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Paisans Pizzeria is a step closer to opening in Oak Lawn with the approval of a liquor license for the establishment that will be part of the Stony Creek Promenade. Plans for the restaurant were originally approved at an Oak Lawn Village Board meeting in March of 2022. Tom Phelan,…

Palos Park resident Nick Hoffman said his patience is wearing out with noise and parking problems caused by the Palos Islamic Center.

Palos Park residents, mosque reps discuss noise issues at council meeting

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva What could have been an explosive situation was actually quite civil. Some Palos Park residents were angry about loud activity and behavior of some members of the Palos Islamic Center the past two years and sounded off at the April 8 village council meeting. Fresh on their minds was noise…

The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Comings & Goings: Obbie’s Pizza to stay ‘unique and delicious’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Archer Avenue’s long-time king of pizzerias will continue to rule. Same recipes at Obbie’s Pizza, 6654 W. Archer. Same pizza and ingredients. Same pasta, broasted chicken, shrimp, perch, Italian beef/sausage/meatball sandwiches, sides and pop. Same seasoned, Middleby Marshall pizza oven built in 1947—the type of pizza oven every restaurant owner…

stickney health district logo

Stickney Public Health confirms measles case in Bedford Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Stickney Public Health District has confirmed that a person with measles related to the ongoing situation in the City of Chicago was at the Walmart Supercenter at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. in Bedford Park on Friday, March 22, roughly between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. Anybody who…

Endless Summerfest in La Grange’s Gordon Park will not be held this year, sponsors have announced. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

La Grange cancels Endless Summerfest over higher costs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It turns out the summer is not endless, at least not in La Grange. Endless Summerfest, a three-day event held the first weekend in August at Gordon Park for many years, will not be held this year. The cancelation was announced Tuesday in a joint new release from the La…

regional orland park police logo

Midlothian man arrested for Orland Park carjacking

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom wire reports The Orland Park Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect in a vehicular hijacking that occurred on the evening of April 3. Shawn Flores, a 44-year-old Midlothian resident, faces charges following his apprehension on April 4. The incident began when a male victim was forcibly removed from his vehicle…

big PoliceLights1

Blotter: Evergreen Park police issue scam alert

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Evergreen Park Police Department is warning the public of an ongoing scam where a caller claims to be an Evergreen Park Police Officer, and instructs the individual to send money in order to avoid criminal charges. In some versions of this scam, the offenders tell individuals they missed a court date related…

The Palos South eighth-grade Girls Volleyball Team is: Top row (left to right) Dorian Urquizo, Annika Hock, Maja Pszczola, Elaina Yasin, Hannah Koenig, Makaleigh Terry, Maya Surdel, Brooklyn Parr, Maggie Purtill, Coach Marty Duggan. Bottom row (left to right) are Raliyah Bruce, Sarah Cairo, Sofia Wilson, Katy Zumerchik, Khadija Faisal, Alexa Morales. (Supplied photos)

Palos South eighth-grade girls volleyballers go undefeated

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports Palos South’s eighth-grade girls’ volleyball team finished first in the Southwest Interscholastic Conference (SWIC) on March 9, completing an undefeated season with a record of 19-0. This is the fifth straight year that Coach Marty Duggan has led the Cardinals to a first-place finish in the tournament, which was held…

Members of the Moraine Valley Community College Speech and Debate Team are competing at nationals. (Supplied photo)

Moraine Valley Speech and Debate Team headed to nationals to defend title

Spread the love

Spread the loveWhen the Moraine Valley Community College Speech and Debate Team heads to the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament in Reno, Nevada, for nine days this month, they’ll have a target on their back as incoming consecutive champions. But they’re ready. “Last year’s team was amazing. Everyone was on their A game. This year…