Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ACLU files suit for foster care funding

June 29, 2009 1:38 PM

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in federal court today, asking a judge to stop the state child welfare system from eliminating counseling and increasing caseloads as is proposed if a state doomsday budget becomes a reality this week.

The 16-page suit, filed on behalf of 16,000 foster children, charged that the cuts violate a 21-year-old federal consent decree that gives the ACLU oversight of the well being of children in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Cuts would result in violations to the decree that "threaten the health, safety and welfare" of children "who will suffer irreparable harm," the suit alleged.

ACLU and DCFS attorneys plan to appear before a federal judge this evening.

DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe has acknowledged that the $460 million in proposed reductions to the DCFS' budget "threaten to completely dismantle the child welfare system in Illinois."

"It would virtually eliminate all supportive services to children and families in the system," Marlowe said. "Until the general assembly steps forward to fund these services, we have no choice but to plan for operating under the budget they have given us."

DCFS Director Erwin McEwen released a statement Monday saying that since 2003, DCFS has sustained almost $200 million in budget cuts and any additional reductions would bring his agency "dangerously close" to violating this and other consent decrees.

"Given the proposed budget cuts, we acknowledge the impact on the safety ... and well-being of the children we serve," McEwen said. "We can only hope that the right thing will be done by funding these services today, as opposed to wasting valuable time and resources defending lawsuits."

The budget cuts, according to the suit, would violate the consent decree by increasing caseloads of caseworkers and investigators, slashing payments to foster parents by 50 percent, cutting clinical services and eliminating a number of screenings, evaluations and other supports.

"Just the cost of feeding and housing wards and former wards by itself would exceed the budgeted amount for DCFS," the suit charged.

Cook County Public Guardian Robert Harris, whose attorneys represent DCFS children in juvenile court, had filed suit last week asking a circuit court judge to stop DCFS from terminating, reducing or suspending counseling and other services that help foster children in crisis. That suit is expected to be heard this afternoon in circuit court.

"People are looking at it as if it's a political fight. The reality is that political fight has spilled over and has started to hurt kids in state care," Harris said.

-- Ofelia Casillas


ACLU files suit for foster care funding - Chicago Breaking News

My Two Cents..

How's that go? Oh yeah follow the money!

This story explains a lot.. how many other parents have pleaded with the ACLU to help with their Civil Rights being violated by the family courts and child protective services?

I know I did! (shaking my head) what a fuckin disgrace!

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

AMEN!

Who would like to bet that if there is no money in the business of foster care, sudde3nly they numbers of children kidnapped by the government will go down drastically.

Is that because suddenly parents stop abusing and neglecting their children?

Hardly! When there's no money to made, why take the kids!

People who believe so strongly in "The best interest" of children need to help them for free. Foster family's need to open their homes for free.

Yeah I know, FAT CHANCE BABY, SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Bill Medvecky,
flds.ws

Foster Mom in Illinois said...

I'd love to take foster children for free if I could afford to. Remember, foster families in Illinois only received 12 to 14 dollars per day to feed, clothe, entertain, transport, and raise our foster children. I'm a stay at home parent and we would not be able to do this without the minimal help we are getting. We pay the extra costs already, because this small amount doesn't cover our costs.

GP Chuck said...

This is definitely like a two way sword. On the one hand there is indeed True Child Abuse. However, on the other hand it is a known fact (since the mid 90's, if not earlier that at least 80% of reported abuse was deemed False.. See article: http://nfpcar.org/Reform/Our_Story/VocalArticle.htm ).

And yes it is about the money. But so many have asked the Agency, whose primary purpose was to protect the children, to be responsible for their actions and do just that.

Now our nation is in a financial crisis and what get cut?? Not only this program, but many programs that can assist those in need.

So my only question, for your consideration, will indeed a cut in funding to the Foster Care program make the agency more responsible? All of us need to wait and see. And if one believes that some of the children, who are victims of True Child Abuse, be assisted, if money is available? Again we have to wait and see.

Bottom line, the agency has had many, many years to get it right.. Have they, absolutely Not. So again, think of this as a two way sword. I strongly feel the true answers are with the parents. Parents who are trying to do the right thing for their children, but just need a little guidance to sharpen the tools they have at their disposal.

The high incidence of False Allegations needs to end. And everyone needs to be responsible for their actions. Including the Bad Child, The Agency.

GP Chuck said...

Thanks for that wonderful comment. Since there are so many Foster Care Givers who are trying to do the Right Thing.

As a retired Foster Care Giver, it was not about the money, but trying to help the children until they could be returned to their family.

Unfortunately, there are those who are truly in it for the money. As a Care Giver, you are in the middle of an actual war. Since you are the one who are caring for the children take from their parents. But so many forget, you are the Care Giver and Not the One who removed the child.

Just a thought, how again, life is filled with two way swords.

Hope said...

In 1998, our family was approved to adopt a child whose mother was in prison for felony child abuse, the father was unknown, and the family could not/would not take her.

We made a huge mistake!
We REFUSED subsidy because we did not need $ub$idy.
We were adopting a child who would be our child until we leave this earth. We did not want or need to be paid to care for her.

We did not know about adoption bonuses, and the more vocal we became, thinking this was good that we did not need government money to properly care for this child who we love more than is imaginable, the stranger TX CPS became toward us.

When the adoption bonuses came out for the first time in 1999, we understood why we were suddenly, and without cause, denied our license to adopt Bekah, or any other child.

Bek was placed as a special needs child ($6,000.00 bonus) and Bek has less special needs than I; although, that might not be saying too much!~

There are a few of us, who are willing to help our neighbors who are at their wits end, and help them take care of their children during a crisis. We do this without pay and our sole reason for helping families, is because "we were put on this earth to see one another through, not to see through one another" (Kiskeya).

GP Chuck said...

Hope,
That is a wonderful comment. We can not depend on the government to be Responsible for their Actions.

I have told many that Families are the Most Important Resource we have in our Nation. Yet today, many are struggling to make it.

But your spirit to be a support to help others strictly from your Caring Heart is most appreciated. We have actually lost the structure in many families. And I don't know how we can do it, but our only Hope is to rebuild this structure and support we once had in Our Families. The answers are in Other Families that are successfully making it in these times. The government certainly does not have the answers.