DCFS: There's No Place to Call Home

Hundreds of teens left in inappropriate places, limbo

"Unfortunately, there are not enough beds for our children," am Illinois Department of Children and Family Services attorney recently told a Juvenile Court judge, referring to the states' child-welfare system that has been struggling to find homes for its most vulnerable children.

In a newspaper report Monday morning, the Chicago Tribune spotlights a 14-year-old who has been in the psychiatric unit at Rush University Medical Center, the victim of a broken system.  The girl reached out to the newspaper with e-mails and phone calls, saying, "I'm missing a lot just being in here, because they can't find me a place to go."

This unidentified teen came to DCFS' attention in 1996, just before her 2nd birthday, because her mother would get drunk and fail to supervise her, her records show.

The Tribune report indicates that the girl hasn't been outside the Rush facility since before Labor Day. In fact, she's been there a total of 105 days.

According to data analyzed by the Cook County public guardian's office and state records reviewed by the Tribune, the 14-year-old is only one of hundreds of teens who are stuck in the limbo of the foster care system.

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