Yesterday, in a series of interviews marking his first year in office, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said that a “big part” of his administration’s plan going forward would be to seek release from court oversight in various federal consent decrees to which the State of Illinois has agreed. The American Civil Liberties Union currently represents clients in five (5) such consent decrees, addressing care for children under the care of the Department of Children and Family Services, youth detained by the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice as well as people with intellectual, physical and psychiatric disabilities who have been needlessly warehoused in large institutions and want to live in community-based settings.

Because of this experience and involvement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois issued the following statement about the Governor’s comments.

The following can be attributed to Edwin C. Yohnka, Director of Communications and Public Policy at the ACLU of Illinois:

Governor Rauner should know that adherence to terms of a consent decrees is not a political option to be debated in the media. These agreements exist because the State violated the law – often over decades – in ways that impose significant harms to our clients and others in Illinois. If he possesses a magic wand to fix the challenges faced by children in the child welfare system, youth being incarcerated or people with disabilities after years of neglect by the State, we hope the Governor uses the magic soon. The reality is that the way to make getting out of consent decrees a “big part” of his agenda is to bring the State’s dysfunctional systems in compliance with the law by improving the way the State provides services and supports to people who depend on its help.

We look forward to engaging in that work, rather than debating ideological rhetoric.

Learn More:

  • Fighting for foster kids in B.H. v. Sheldon
  • Preventing people with disabilities from being forced to live in institutions in Colbert v. Rauner
  • Defending the rights of people with developmental disabilities in Ligas v. Norwood
  • Improving conditions and services for young people detained within the facilities of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice in R.J. v. Jones
  • Protecting the rights of people with mental illness in Williams v. Rauner