Cook County Public Guardian Leads Suit Against DCFS Officials and Chicago Lakeshore Hospital

CHICAGO – Officials and investigators in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) turned a blind eye to endemic sexual and gross physical abuse inflicted upon children in DCFS custody – some as young as 7-years-old – who were housed at a private Chicago-area psychiatric hospital of horrors upon which DCFS was reliant and that it sought to protect, according to a suit filed in federal court today.

With other psychiatric hospitals reluctant to take children in DCFS custody due to slow state payment and the agency’s failure to promptly re-house children in less restrictive environments after completing treatment, DCFS officials came to rely on Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital to the detriment of vulnerable children in need of treatment.

Once at Chicago Lakeshore, youth became targets of repeated sexual and physical abuse by other poorly supervised patients and by Chicago Lakeshore staff. The hospital’s conditions were so notoriously poor that last year the federal government cut off its Medicare funding. Rather than working to shut the hospital down, DCFS officials continued to funnel children there, while working to cover up the abuse.

“When youth enter the DCFS system they frequently have already experienced severe trauma and are among our area’s most vulnerable residents,” said Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert. “But rather than providing these young children the focused care they deserved, DCFS sent them to Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, knowing they would not be safe. It shocks the conscience that Illinois officials would treat our youth this way.”

Today’s suit is filed by Mr. Golbert on behalf of seven youth who were abused at Chicago Lakeshore between 2017 and 2018. The group is represented by Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law. A copy of the lawsuit, Charles Golbert, et al. v. Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, LLC, et al., No. 1:19-cv-08257, is available here.

Mr. Golbert and the attorneys will speak about their suit at a 1 pm press conference today at Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, 311 N. Aberdeen Street, 3rd floor, Chicago.

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