Gov. Pat Quinn directed the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to take further action in light of recent reports of disturbing issues within residential care centers for troubled youth.
The Governor directed the Children and Family Services Advisory Council to convene immediately to assess the situation and develop steps to resolve these issues. In addition, the governor named a top expert as an advisor to the committee, which will meet Thursday, Dec. 11.
A Chicago Tribune report on the problems is available here.
“The recent revelations regarding some residential youth centers in Illinois are alarming and unacceptable,” Quinn said in a press release. “They must be addressed immediately.”
“Today I am directing the Children and Family Services Advisory Council to meet promptly to respond to the issues at these residential youth centers and develop a comprehensive action plan to address them.
“Every necessary corrective action will be implemented and monitored by the Department and its advisory committee. Our most vulnerable are of highest priority and must get the care and protection they deserve.
“The department must take every step necessary to prevent these harmful incidents to youth from ever happening again.”
The governor directed the Children and Family Services Advisory Council to meet Thursday, Dec. 11, to immediately address the issues at some of the state’s residential care centers. In addition, the governor named Dr. Robert R. Bloom as adviser to the Children and Family Services Advisory Council. Bloom, former longtime executive director of the Jewish Children’s Bureau, previously served on the Child Welfare Advisory Board and is a widely respected expert on the topics of residential treatment and institutional child abuse.
Additionally, as announced previously, the DCFS is bringing in an independent expert to conduct a full investigation of the residential treatment centers with which the department works. The results and recommendations from that review will be made public.
The DCFS is also conducting a comprehensive review of data from residential facilities to determine whether performance has improved since the timeframe examined by the Chicago Tribune and whether further sanctions or consequences are warranted.
Lawrence Hall Youth Services and ERIC Family Services, both in Chicago, have both been placed on intake hold effective Dec. 4, 2014.