CHICAGO — DCFS director Marc Smith has been held in contempt following a WGN Investigates report that showed hundreds of children were in psychiatric hospitals longer than necessary due to the organization not having anywhere else to house them.

WGN reported in 2021 that 356 children statewide were hospitalized beyond the time it was medically necessary, with the average stay 55 days longer than the doctor recommendation.

Of the children hospitalized, 18 percent were under the age of 10.

Now, Cook County judge Patrick Murphy is holding DCFS director Marc Smith in contempt of court for his agency’s failure to find appropriate placements for cases.

Beginning Wednesday, DCFS will be fined $1,000 a day, every day until the DCFS complies with the judge’s order.

The DCFS offered the following statement:

“The Department of Children and Family Services is dedicated to keeping children safe and strengthening families.  We are working aggressively addressing the decades-long challenge of a lack of community resources and facilities for children with complex behavioral health needs, which has been exacerbated by an increased demand in social services in recent years.  Every single day, DCFS works with its network of providers and foster parents in an ongoing effort to place these children in settings that can provide the appropriate level of care and in which the children can grow and flourish.”