Earlier today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services filed an agreed, proposed implementation plan with the federal court in Chicago in the on-going B.H. v. Sheldon litigation, designed to assure that conditions for those children under the care of DCFS meet appropriate constitutional standards. The draft implementation plan follows a report filed with the Court last year that found the Department to be out of compliance with the consent decree in B.H. That report was compiled a group of experts appointed and approved by the Court. If approved, today’s draft implementation plan commits the State of Illinois to a number of ambitious steps necessary to improve conditions for children under the care of DCFS.

The following can be attributed to Ben Wolf, legal director for the ACLU of Illinois and lead counsel in B.H.:

We are pleased that Director Sheldon and the leadership at DCFS has worked closely with us to develop ambitious steps toward solving the fundamental, systemic problems identified by the panel of experts last year. The Department has been diligent and detailed as well as creative in this process.

One critical element that runs through the draft plan is the notion of moving the services and programs offered to children and families toward a community-based model that works at the local level to develop and refine both the capacity and quality of much-needed services. We believe that this model will work best to serve the children under the care of DCFS from Chicago to Carbondale, from Alton to Rockford.
This plan is a road map for improving conditions and services for families in Illinois, but the hard work remains ahead in implementation. We are committed to working through the current State challenges (and those we cannot see ahead) to fully implement this plan.

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