DCFS fires contractor after another child transported in shackles

WGN Investigates
Data pix.

CHICAGO — It’s happened again. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services admits one of its contractors improperly restrained a child during transport.

“On February 10, a youth in our care was transported to an out-of-state facility. During the trip, the youth was unacceptably restrained with hard ankle restraints by a transportation contractor. The use of hard restraints on any child is completely unacceptable and violates the Department’s ban on ever using hard restraints. No one in our care should ever be mistreated like this,” DCFS said in a statement.

In November, WGN Investigates reported that two teenagers were transported out of state by a DCFS contractor in handcuffs and with their legs shackled.

At the time, DCFS officials called it “totally unacceptable” and claimed to have taken steps to prevent transporting kids in “harsh restraints.”

Now, the child welfare agency tells WGN Investigates the same contractor was involved in all of the incidents. The agency says it will now terminate the company’s contract to transport kids in its care.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Governor J.B. Pritzker said he was "furious" after he learned about the use of the hard restraints late Monday and, "charged DCFS with taking swift disciplinary action."

"The Governor has instructed DCFS to fire the transportation company that violated this rule and directed DCFS to hold every employee who has violated its policy fully accountable," the statement said.

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