Gov. J.B. Pritzker is letting the children down, his Nov. 8 opponent Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey argues.
Bailey, who has been committed to standing for the children, also called for the resignation of the director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Marc Smith, of who Pritzker has remained supportive.
"JB Pritzker is a failed governor whose ineptness is bringing tremendous harm to kids," Bailey said. "So far this year, there have been 177 DCFS kids forced to sleep on office floors. It is time for JB Pritzker to be held accountable for the house of horrors — AKA the Department of Children and Family Services — he is running. The insanity in this department is getting out of hand. It is beyond time for DCFS Director Marc Smith to go. The fact that he is still there is all of the evidence we need that JB Pritzker does not deserve a second term."
One of the 177 children in the custody of DCFS this year, who have been housed in their offices was a 5-year-old kid with autism. In that situation, the young girl was made to spend six nights sleeping on the floor because there were no beds available in a therapeutic environment.
"This is a child who is in DCFS's care due to concerns about abuse and neglect; and what does DCFS say to the little girl? 'Here. Here's an office. Go sleep on the floor of this office,'” Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert said, according to CBS News Chicago.
Smith has been held in contempt of court 12 times in a matter of only a year. One was for improperly holding a 14-year-old child in a mental health facility. In one instance, the child was essentially imprisoned in the facility after being briefly taken into custody in September 2021 and being moved through the system 21 times. In that case, the judge ordered DCFS to pay a daily charge of $1,000 until the child was placed in the proper care, CBS News Chicago reported. Despite the court's rulings, Pritzker has remained in support of Smith.
Following many high-profile child deaths, DCFS has recently come under fire. Frank Mautino's Office of Auditor General noted in a review that DCFS “was unable to provide 192 of the 195 (98%) required home safety checklists.”
“Additionally, according to DCFS’ website, home safety checklists had still not been updated with required new language as of March 16,” the audit reads. A youngster is subjected to safety inspections before being returned to the setting from which they were taken.
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