Contempt citation No. 12: DCFS forces girl to wait 170 days in mental hospital

Contempt citation No. 12: DCFS forces girl to wait 170 days in mental hospital

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith faces his 12th contempt of court order of 2022. In the latest, the judge ruled Smith failed to place a 15-year-old girl in proper housing for 170 days, leaving her in a mental hospital.

The top administrator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was just hit with his 12th contempt of court order this year because a teen girl was left in a mental hospital for nearly six months.

Cook County Judge Patrick Murphy held DCFS Director Marc Smith in contempt of court at the request of the Cook County Public Guardian’s office. The 12th contempt citation concerns a 15-year-old girl living in a psychiatric hospital for 170 days while waiting for proper housing. The department claims it has nowhere to place her.

The contempt order comes with $1,000 daily fines until the girl is in appropriate housing.

Smith’s string of contempt orders started Jan. 6 for violating the right to appropriate housing for two children also living in locked psychiatric hospitals.

The agency is in an ongoing struggle to place kids that predates the pandemic. From 2019 to 2021, more than 300 children have died while being monitored by DCFS.

Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert issued a report highlighting DCFS’ systemic failures.

One involved 8-year-old Amaria Osby, who was visited by DCFS hours before her mother killer her.

Home safety checklists were missing in 98% of DCFS cases, according to the Illinois Auditor General.

Illinois’ budget funnels money away from crucial government services such as child protective services to pay for public pensions. No state dedicates more of its budget to pensions than Illinois, at more than 25%.

Addressing the pension crisis would save taxpayers billions needed to restore essential services such as DCFS care for the most at-risk children. A hold-harmless pension plan developed by the Illinois Policy Institute guarantees existing state employees a fully funded retirement through small adjustments to the growth of benefits for future work.

Restoring DCFS’ ability to protect Illinois’ children starts with amending the Illinois Constitution to ensure state funds are available to protect its most vulnerable residents.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!