CHICAGO (CBS) – A judge Thursday afternoon found Marc Smith, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, in contempt of court for the fourth time in two months.
This latest order involves the department repeatedly moving a teenage girl who bounces her between different foster homes, psychiatric hospitals, and shelters. In just six months, DCFS moved it 25 times.
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The teenager is currently hospitalized. When she is ready for release, the judge has ordered that she be placed appropriately or else DCFS will face fines of $1,000 per day.
After being hit by the three other past contempt orders, DCFS quickly found the right placements for these young people who were languishing in psychiatric hospitals.
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A Cook County Juvenile Court judge also found Smith in contempt in three other recent cases over DCFS’s failure to place those children in proper care.
Late last month, lawmakers held a virtual hearing on DCFS, with some even suggesting overhauling the department if Smith can’t right the ship.
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Capacity, or the number of residential beds and foster homes for children in state care, is an ongoing and critical concern. This is the main reason for a problem that we have widely reported – children are kept in psychiatric hospitals longer than medically necessary. In some cases, months longer.