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Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 09:13 am

Letters to the Editor 8/18/11

DCFS fails kids


While I appreciate the article on the mental health issues of adopted foster children, I do have to object to the article’s title [see “When adoptions go wrong: Giving up custody to get kids the mental health care they need,” by Patrick Yeagle, Aug. 11]. Adoptions don’t go wrong. Adoptive parents love and cherish the children they’ve chosen to bring into their families, even after the child presents severe challenges. [See also the op-ed article on page 3 in this issue.]

The agencies tasked to assist children have colossally failed kids and their families. I know from personal experience that DCFS caseworkers are allowed to withhold vital information to foster and adoptive parents about their children’s mental health disabilities and that there is no recourse for the parents and no punishment for these disingenuous caseworkers. I also know that parents’ rights are routinely ignored and undermined by a system that is designed to ensure failure and perpetuate the cycle of destitution and dependency.

HIPPA regulations prevent parents from being informed of essential information necessary to determine their children’s course of treatment. The juvenile justice system has little to no understanding of the complexities of mental illness caused by abuse and neglect. And the entire mental health system itself is obsessed with “community-based” treatment that might be effective except that there’s no way to get children to the treatment if they don’t want to go.

Illinois has to face up to the fact that few, if any, child welfare “professionals” have even a basic understanding of how to provide effective mental health treatment to abused and neglected children. Even when children do get treatment, it is limited to pill-popping and fealty to behaviorist claptrap that ignores the root causes of the mental illness.

Robert Huck


It is astonishing that, in the 21st century, the City of Springfield is still struggling to come to terms with blatant gender discrimination in the lease of public land. The Springfield Chapter of the ACLU strongly believes that the city has no rational basis related to any purpose of government in choosing to lease public land to a private organization that prohibits all women as members. Regardless of whether there is a clear violation of any of the myriad federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws, the city should not put or keep itself in a position to find out the hard way whether its leases violate the law. Doing so is not just wrong, but also irresponsible and potentially costly.

Publicly owned land – the land belonging to all members of this community – should not be leased by the city to organizations that ban half the population from membership.

Mary Chiti, Mary Jo Potter
Springfield Chapter of the ACLU


As a member of the Springfield Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission (SSCRPC) I have had the good fortune of serving with two of the most dedicated commissioners – Claudo Pecori and Lawrence Eastep – whose terms ended recently.

The purpose of the commission is to guide the coordinated and harmonious development of Springfield and Sangamon County. Pecori and Eastep have done yeomen’s work in this regard, having served since the SSCRPC’s inception in 1987. Pecori was elected chairman five times, and Eastep twice. Both provided excellent leadership.

Pecori and Eastep, along with Carolyn Toney, also served on our City of Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission. All three are also leaving that important body after valuable years of service.

A big thank you goes to Pecori, Eastep and Toney for their valuable years of service to our community.

Sam Cahnman
Alderman, Ward 5
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