The Chicago Tribune reported this week on a troubling report which discusses systematic Illinois abuse and neglect suffered by local children. Yesterday we discussed state legislative changes which were spurred by the Chicago nursing home abuse of disabled children at Alden Village North. Unfortunately, other facilities may be just as rife with mistreatment.
Experts at the University of Illinois at Chicago released a report through the Department of Children and Family Services which confirms claims from last year of sexual assault of several youth at the Chicago Lakeshore Hospital. The prominent facility receives millions of dollars each year to treat area children who often have traumatic histories of abuse and neglect.
According to the report there were at least four instances of sexual assault at the location since 2008. Those figures combine to make a total of 18 reports of rape and sexual abuse at six area psychiatric hospitals in that same time frame. The victims were all under 18, with the youngest only 7 years old.
The new report cites staffing failures as a key reason for the abuse. In many instances a single staff member was charged with monitoring 15-22 youths in a dayroom. The investigators noted that “A supervision failure […] directly contributed to each of the sexual assault incidents.”
In one of the cases an 11-year old boy was raped by two older youths who cornered him in a bathroom. The location was supposed to be monitored every 15 minutes. In another case, a 15-year old girl was raped by three male patients who snuck into her room at night.
Our Chicago assisted-living abuse lawyers remain appalled by each of these new allegations which indicate the poor care provided to so many of our vulnerable youth. The fact that a child needs to live in a facility such as this should never mean that he or she is forced to simply deal with the dangerous risks presented. It is incumbent upon state officials to monitor and stamp out these cases of systematic abuse.
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