CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has delivered cots, linens and hygiene kits to its field offices and private agencies to ensure kids are more comfortable while they await placement.
It comes after WGN Investigates reported extensively on children in state care who slept on a couch and even the floor of a DCFS office in the South Loop.
A letter sent to DCFS field offices and private agency providers said the agency hopes to make children feel “more comfortable as they briefly pass through field offices and into placements.” Records obtained by WGN Investigates revealed 36 kids spent the night in a DCFS or private agency office in a five month period this summer and fall.
“For me, it’s unacceptable for a child to be in our office without a safe, nurturing home for any amount of nights,” DCFS Acting Director Mark Smith told WGN in October. “We’re working closely with our community partners to make sure these things don’t happen again.”
However, the delivery of cots, linens and other items indicates DCFS may believe its unavoidable.
A DCFS spokesperson said the agency is continually working to address the challenging circumstances in which kids enter the system in need of care.
“Many DCFS offices and the office of our private agency partners across the state must be prepared to protect infants, children and youth who will often arrive exhausted and in need of necessities,” said DCFS spokesman Jassen Strokosch.