In an effort to reform services and care for children who are wards of the state of Illinois, independent monitors from the University of Illinois at Chicago's psychiatry department have begun their review of residential treatment centers operated by the Department of Child and Family Service (DCFS), as the result of a court-approved agreement in ACLU litigation against the agency, the Chicago Tribune reports. Investigative reports from earlier this year exposing cases of abuse and neglect within the facilities prompted the ACLU to go back to court to jump-start reforms. The ACLU of Illinois represents these children under a decades-long consent decree originally designed to improve the quality of services and to ensure the safety of children who are under DCFS care. The Chicago Tribune spoke with ACLU of Illinois associate legal director Ben Wolf:
"Residential treatment ought to be something we rely on much less often and that we oversee much more aggressively," said ACLU associate legal director Benjamin Wolf. "The real test of any reforms is whether the children in state custody are better off."