CHICAGO — A new allegation claims the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services placed a child in a home with a convicted sex offender, and he was sexually abused. That’s according to a pair of lawsuits filed by the Cook County public guardian against DCFS, the foster mother and the sex offender.
“DCFS is supposed to run a background check,” public guardian Charles Golbert said. “They did not do that in this particular case so they ended up placing a 12-year-old boy with a convicted child sex molester.”
James White was placed on the Illinois sex offender registry in 2002, according to the lawsuit. State records say White was convicted of sexual exploitation for exposing himself to a 16-year-old victim when he was 32. He’s also been convicted of armed robbery, burglary and possession of a stolen car.
DCFS placed the boy in a foster home on Chicago’s South Side in late October of 2014 after his grandmother could no longer care for him. Within weeks, the public guardian said White moved in with the foster mother who was his wife.
DCFS is required by law, and social work norms, to visit a foster child weekly in the first month of a placement and monthly thereafter, according to the public guardian. The lawsuits state caseworkers only visited the boy once in more than six months.
“You put a 12-year-old boy in a foster home of a convicted child sex offender — and you never bother visiting him — of course this is what’s going to happen,” Golbert said.
A DCFS spokesperson said the department will not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit identifies by name two DCFS case workers who oversaw the boy’s foster placement. Both still remain employees of DCFS, according to state payroll records.
As for the sex offender, White, he is on parole for an unrelated charge and living in Iowa. Neither he nor the foster mother were charged in connection with the boy’s alleged molestation.