Aldermen take aim at Heartland Alliance with new ordinance

CHICAGO – Chicago city council passed an ordinance Wednesday aimed at regulating child welfare agencies.

The ordinance was prompted by a recent report by the Washington Post of immigrant children being traumatized while in the care of a Chicago child welfare agency.  The Post reported stories of abuse and neglect of immigrant children that were housed at Chicago’s Heartland Alliance after they were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy.

The ordinance requires shelters to disclose the location of their facilities as well as the “average number of children housed” and “average age” of the children at each facility.

It also calls for inspections of those facilities.

Violations would lead to a fine between $500 and $1,000 for each offense.

Some aldermen reluctantly voted for the ordinance that was watered down at the last minute.