The Chicago Sun-Times spoke with ACLU of Illinois associate legal director Ben Wolf about the recent filing in federal court urging the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to immediately address issues causing harm to the thousands of children in its custody. The ACLU of Illinois has represented all foster children in DCFS custody under a consent decree established to uphold a standard of quality in the care and services provided by the agency. Since the consent decree went into effect, the agency has repeatedly failed to provide adequate health and education services for the children. Also, because fewer children being placed in home-like settings in their communities, many of them are housed in overcrowded facilities and are exposed to abuse and neglect. Ben Wolf states:

“We believe it is a crisis,” Benjamin Wolf, legal director for the ACLU of Illinois, said after a short court hearing. “Some children are placed in the most dangerous and inappropriate residential treatment centers. Other children are . . . spending six months or a year in a shelter when they ought to be getting services in a home.”

Read the entire article.