I want every last one of these people held accountable,” Simmons told reporters. The ACLU filed this class action lawsuit in 1988 in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, against the state of Illinois, on behalf of all children in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) placed somewhere other than … The 16-count suit, filed in federal court Tuesday by Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert, lists DCFS overseers as well as former Lakeshore administrators and … Blake Law Group, P.C. If you believe the abuse or neglect you are reporting requires immediate action, you MUST call the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873) to … Ashley Deckert is accused of “deliberate and reckless indifference” as the supervisor who approved Rica’s placement. An investigation spanning 10 days ended with DCFS supervisor Daniel Norris’ acceptance of Rica’s explanation that her injuries were the result of a fall, according to DCFS reports filed in Baker’s case. Lawsuit claims DCFS conducted 'sham investigations' into abuse For more on the process of removing a child from a parent’s custody based on reports of abuse or neglect made to the DCFS, check out our article, How to Remove a Child from the Parent’s Custody. Both are named in the lawsuit that includes eight state workers, the Department of Children and Family Services and the State of Illinois. I was to get my guardianship restored on … The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) handles reports of child abuse and neglect.If you've been "indicated" for child abuse or neglect, it means DCFS thinks there was good evidence that a child was abused.. An indicated finding is a separate finding from any juvenile or criminal court proceeding.. Illinois DCFS reports 17% decline in child death cases. Call 630-580-6373 and schedule your consultation today. The Rountree lawsuit cites a 2019 DCFS observation that “African-American and Latinex children are experiencing poorer outcomes than their White counterparts” in the Illinois child welfare system, and that these disparities are the result of “implicit racial bias and structural racism.”. The court can enforce what DCFS thinks is necessary to guarantee the safety of the child. Blake Law Group, P.C. Abrasions to Rica’s lip, a gash over her eye and scars on her neck prompted an April 20, 2018, call to the DCFS hotline from Simmons. This revised Rule 336 can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website.) NORMAL (HOI) - The lawyer who worked on the cases of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd is now fighting for a family in Normal. “These are people who are supposed to protect our children. Cynthia Baker was convicted in the death of Rica Rountree. Joining the Ben Crump firm on the legal team are the Chicago firms of Levin and Perconti and Spiros Law, both of Chicago. internal injuries caused by repeated blows, she was sentenced last month to life in prison, DCFS records show two cases against Baker where credible evidence of child abuse were substantiated, Donate now, and help fund your public media, Judge: Life Sentence Stands For Normal Woman In Girl's Murder, life sentence in the beating death of an 8-year-old girl, Flaws In Abuse Probe Detailed In DCFS Report, Rica Rountree's Father Gets 8 Years After Guilty Plea. In this article, we explain parents’ visitation rights after children have been removed by the court in a juvenile case based on alleged abuse or neglect. When your lawsuit involves multiple categories, you must use the … can represent you as a parent, relative or other in regard to issues involving the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). Over 150,000 Illinois families and professionals are members of the certified class. In a virtual news conference, nationally recognized civil rights lawyer Ben Crump and two members of his legal team said Rica’s constitutional rights were violated by the state, the Department of Children and Family Services and six DCFS workers who failed to protect her from ongoing physical abuse. You need an attorney who is familiar with DCFS and the juvenile court system. DCFS fending off lawsuit over supervised child visitation rights Friday, May 15, 2020 * Cook County Public Defender Amy P. Campanelli writing in the Sun-Times last week … Glori’s birth in Illinois was at a time that DCFS considered it potential medical neglect to deny babies ... Attorney Richard Dvorak filed a 103-page lawsuit … A class-action lawsuit was filed last week in the Northern District of Illinois against the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), its agents, and several doctors and nurses in … 217-524-3715 / TTY www.DCFS.illinois.gov JB Pritzker Governor Marc D. Smith Acting Director. Later, DCFS rejected concerns from Rica’s teachers and Simmons over broken teeth, black eyes and bruises on the girl, said Simmons. The hastily concluded investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services into black eyes and bruises on a child who died weeks later of abuse is laid out in state records recently filed in a McLean County murder case. DCFS records show two cases against Baker where credible evidence of child abuse were substantiated against her before Rica’s placement. On Monday DFS spokesman William McCaffrey said the agency does not comment on pending litigation. Crump cited the marks and scars on Rica’s body when she was taken unresponsive to the hospital. Freund case have been arrested on … Cell phone video collected by police showed both adults torturing the child, often in front of other children in the home. The DCFS staff failures “emboldened and encouraged Rica’s abusers to punish, torture and abuse her to the point of death,” states the lawsuit. The Online Reporting System is to be used for non-life threatening and non-emergency incidents of abuse or neglect of a child. DCFS, Lakeshore Hospital Sued by Public Guardian Over Alleged ‘Unspeakable Acts of Sexual Abuse' The lawsuit claims DCFS, hospital 'turned a blind eye' to … Lawyers declined to provide a specific amount of damages being sought in the case filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois and the state Court of Claims. give it to the sheriff to serve on the director of the dept. By Matthew Hendrickson @MHendricksonCST Updated May 19, 2020, 8:46pm CDT A lawsuit was filed Monday seeking to force the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to disclose how many children under its care end up sleeping in administrative office space on the city’s Near South Side, sometimes on floors, when a nearby shelter is full. In addition, the lawsuit … Rica Rountree with her mother, Ann Simmons. Attorney Richard Dvorak filed a lawsuit on behalf of several parents against multiple hospitals and the Illinois DCFS; In 2015 the Illinois DCFS introduced a policy making vitamin K shots mandatory in newborns ; If a parent denied the vitamin K shot an investigation was opened with DCFS for medical neglect The hastily concluded investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services into black eyes and bruises on a child who died weeks later of abuse is laid out in state records recently filed in a McLean County murder case. “Rica had to die before they believed she was in danger,” said Crump. It sounds like DCFS really screwed up and may deserve sanctions. A DCFS investigation can have broad and lasting impact. Cynthia Baker’s life sentence in the beating death of an 8-year-old girl will stand, a judge ruled on Tuesday. Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the movement. O n August 29 Gov. If the case is indicated, you could be associated with that finding for up to 50 years in the State Central Register (SCR). The lawsuit filed by the State Bank of Geneva claims Acosta and Polovin ignored DCFS procedures and the prime directive of the Illinois Abused and … The federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of AJ's two surviving brothers, alleges DCFS only investigated two of several calls made to the agency's hotline. The lawsuit claims DCFS held more than 800 children in psychiatric hospitals for longer than medically necessary between 2015 and 2017, largely … Examine and understand your rights during the process, and discover how our seasoned DuPage County DCFS defense attorneys can protect them. “While Rica’s abusers may be behind bars, we have not yet achieved full justice for this child,” said Crump, who also serves as attorney for the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor families in separate police-involved killings. Child protection specialist Stefanie Moreau also documented a broken tooth when she visited the child at school. Troubling images of a frail, naked child being forced to stand with her arms outstretched as she held canned goods were played for jurors. Such an investigation “would have given any sane individual pause before a placement was made” to the home, said Levin. A federal lawsuit has been filed against Acosta, who also works for DCFS… McHenry County Board member Carlos Acosta before the start of the board meeting on Oct. 15, 2019, in Woodstock. The estate is asking for damages “in a sum to be ascertained.”. Credible abuse was determined in two of those cases involving Baker in 2002 and 2012, according to DCFS reports. Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act Lawsuit accuses Illinois and DCFS in death of Rica Rountree. State cutbacks unjustly forced numerous youth into locked psych wards, causing many to relapse and costing Illinois millions of dollars Acting Cook County Public Guardian Leads Class Action Suit Against DCFS CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) today was hit with a federal class action lawsuit for locking youth in… Read More They allege DCFS wastes $125,000 in taxpayer dollars each month because the department is unable to place these children in the proper facilities once their hospital stays are supposed to end. But he said, “We are committed to doing everything in our power to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future,” including additional training of 3,200 staff. A lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court accuses two Illinois Department of Child and Family Services employees of conducting "sham investigations" … Lawyer Steven Levin said records show DCFS’ reckless conduct started when the agency did not conduct a background investigation in 2016 into Richard Rountree’s home and the woman who served as Rica’s stepmother. You mentioned "winning custody" of your first son but did not indicate when or how or the basis for the court order. Sex Crime allegations, “AV” Rated Law Firm handling cases in the Metro East, Alton, Illinois and Mount Vernon, DCFS Attorneys. At the time DCFS placed Rica with her father and Baker in September 2016, the agency’s records contained numerous reports of alleged abuse of other children by the pair. Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump also serves as attorney for the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor families in separate police-involved killings. Freund case have been arrested on child endangerment charges. Looking to file a lawsuit against DCFS of the State of Illinois... My son was involved in a previous case that had him placed a ward of the state because he was in the home of his father where an infant died. There's no subscription fee to listen or read our stories. Former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services supervisor Andrew Polovin, front, leaves court Wednesday after a hearing in Judge Robert Wilbrandt's courtroom in Woodstock. Donate now, and help fund your public media. These reforms came from the consent decree that settled a three-year-old lawsuit against DCFS. Rountree was sentenced to eight years for child endangerment. Sometimes in the middle of a safety plan, DCFS needs to make a critical decision regarding additional court authority. Do you need to appeal your case? Since filing this landmark case against the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in 1988, the ACLU has forced groundbreaking reforms to the Illinois foster care system. Everyone can access this essential public service thanks to community support. The N.B. When Ann Simmons last saw her daughter Rica Rountree alive on April 20, 2018, with obvious signs of abuse, she knew she had to change her life for the better if she was going to save her daughter’s life. The agency, the spokesman said, “is committed to doing everything in our power to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.”. On August 29 Gov. We can provide guidance and representation. Other video showed a frightened child attempting to escape Baker’s demand to a bedroom where beatings regularly took place. The ACLU’s ongoing pursuit of court-ordered reforms strives to secure safe, stable homes for thousands of children in Illinois and to, among other things, reduce caseloads, improve the Overworked staff are urged to close cases quickly, the lawsuit alleges, and maintain “a code of silence ... regarding sham investigations, falsified reports, and/or disparate treatment of African American children within DCFS.”. In 1997, a class of parents and child-serving professionals filed a lawsuit against the Department of Children and Family Services, seeking extensive reform of DCFS investigations, based on violations of due process. In a recent statement, a DCFS spokesman said the agency had "taken several steps to better serve vulnerable children and families, including providing additional training for more than 3,200 staff to help identify safety issues,” in the wake of Rica’s death. The suit resulted in a Consent Decree, dated January 14, 1977, wherein DCFS agreed to make appropriate services and documents available in Spanish and to hire bilingual employees to work in specific certain areas. Get DCFS legal help from the attorneys at Bolen Robinson & Ellis. you prepare your complaint, sign it under rule 137. go to the court house. The background investigation of Rountree and Baker by child protection specialist Mary Ann Poynter was “a sham investigation,” and false and omitted information “created an inaccurate report” that put Rica at risk of serious harm by the couple, said the lawsuit. The DCFS Office of Inspector General created in 1993 to specifically address shortcomings in agency investigations annually tallies the deaths and causes of about 100 children who die in DCFS care. Parents and guardians who experience an investigation from the DCFS Blunder Cost Joliet Woman Her Job: Lawsuit - Joliet, IL - A Joliet woman who accused the Department of Children and Family Services of … give it to the clerk. Lawyer Steven Levin said records show DCFS’ reckless conduct started when the agency did not conduct a background investigation in 2016 into Richard Rountree’s home and the woman who served as Rica’s stepmother. The lawsuit contends DCFS and medical staff broke state and federal law by improperly seizing newborns or threatening to do so, said Richard Dvorak a lawyer for the families. Lawsuit accuses child welfare workers of conducting ‘sham investigaitons” in months before 5-yer old AJ Freund was killed. There's no subscription fee to listen or read our stories. The lawsuit, filed by the Chicago firm of Loevy & Loevy, says this process has gone on for decades and only worsened in recent years. Lawsuit Says DCFS In Violation of 2nd Amendment By Ash-har Quraishi • Published April 19, 2018 • Updated on April 19, 2018 at 7:18 pm Should … “Sham investigations” by state child welfare workers emboldened Rica Rountree’s abusers to continue the abuse that led to her death in January 2019, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the child’s estate. The lawsuit says this issue has been known to DCFs administrators since the late 1980s, but it was spotlighted by a ProPublica investigation published earlier this year. Belleville, Illinois law firm handling Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) cases, Edwardsville DCFS law firm, Southern Illinois DCFS investigations, allegations of neglect and abuse, foster care issues. DCFS continues to operate its … hoiabc.com | 30d. The beating death of an 8-year-old Normal girl is the focus of a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday against six state child welfare workers, the child’s father and the woman serving life in prison for the child’s death. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services still uses a rule that was struck down by the state’s highest court to take children, according to a lawsuit filed last week. Both are named in the lawsuit that includes eight state workers, the Department of Children and Family Services and the State of Illinois. pay the filing fee. At the time DCFS placed Rica with her father and Baker in September 2016, the agency’s records contained numerous reports of alleged abuse of other children by the pair. DCFS labels a case as “unfounded” if no proof of abuse or neglect is found, and “indicated” if there is proof of abuse or neglect. Six days later, Moreau categorized the alleged abuse as “unfounded,” a conclusion her supervisor, Mark Ohrwall, later approved, according to the 22-page lawsuit alleging the child’s constitutional rights were violated. However, if you're suing because you were personally injured, you only have two years to file. A lawsuit against DCFS would be an effort in futility. A former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services caseworker and his supervisor who both worked on the A.J. In Illinois, if you're suing for damages to your personal property, you have five years to file a lawsuit. In 1997, a class of parents and child-serving professionals filed a lawsuit against the Department of Children and Family Services, seeking extensive reform of DCFS investigations, based on violations of due process. have the summons issued. IDPH School/Daycare Guidance. can help you if you have a concern that DCFS has become involved in your family issues. The nurse told DCFS caseworker Patricia Shannon “that Rica had other marks on her face not consistent with an accidental trip, but rather evidence of child abuse,” said the lawsuit. send a copy to the illinois attorney general and then you have a filed lawsuit against dcfs. Have you been indicated for abuse or neglect by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services? DCFS workers Johanna O’Brien, Stefanie Moreau, Patrician Shannon, Mark Delashmit, Mark Orhwall and Daniel Norris are named in the court action. A jury convicted Baker of murder in November 2019; she was sentenced last month to life in prison. WOODSTOCK, Ill. (CBS) — A former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services caseworker and his supervisor who both worked on the A.J. Rica was afraid to go home, Simmons told authorities. Simmons had a message for DCFS: ”Kids are dying because you guys are not doing your job.”. lawsuit was filed in 2011 on behalf of Medicaid-eligible children under the age of 21 in the State of Illinois seeking certain mental and behavioral health services under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (“EPSDT”) requirement of the Medicaid Act. Her case became bogged down in the state courts, but the federal Montgomery bus lawsuit Browder v. Gayle succeeded in November 1956. Federal Lawsuit Filed Against DCFS Workers In Rica Rountree's Beating Death wglt.org | 12-09 The beating death of an 8-year-old Normal girl is the focus of a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday against six state child welfare workers, the child’s father and the woman serving life in prison for the child’s death. A DCFS investigation found credible evidence of abuse against Rountree and Baker. The father of an 8-year-old girl killed in 2019 by his girlfriend pleaded guilty Thursday to child endangerment. The lawsuit identifies by name two DCFS case workers who oversaw the boy’s foster placement. In Rica’s case, DCFS staff ignored clear evidence of abuse at least in part, because Rica was Black, lawyers for the estate contend in the lawsuit. Rica Rountree died in January 2019 of internal injuries caused by repeated blows she suffered while living with her father, Richard Rountree, and his girlfriend Cynthia Baker, in Normal. Judge dismisses lawsuit against DCFS seeking reinstatement of in-person visitation during coronavirus pandemic Since March, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services suspended supervised in-person visits between parents and children. Baker, who is white, was accused of singling Rica out for physical and emotional abuse, while Richard Rountree, who is Black, did not protect his daughter. DCFS supervisor Mark Delashmit approved caseworker Johanna O’Brien’s recommendation that the claim be deemed “unfounded,” despite information from Delashmit’s own investigation that “caused him to suspect and/or know Rica was at risk” while living in Rountree's household, the lawsuit alleges. The final allegations of abuse came in January 2019 when Rica was taken to the hospital with a perforated ileum caused by blunt force trauma to her abdomen. In her comments, Rica’s mother, Ann Simmons, said DCFS first refused to listen to Rica when she told investigators she was being abused in the home. By JENNIFER SMITH. The case has resulted in sweeping changes in the investigations of child-service professions, Dupuy v. For almost 30 years, Illinois has struggled to overcome ongoing serious accusations that DCFS fails to protect children in its care. 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