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DCFS Can't Explain Why Some Teens Have Been Put In Shackles

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two teens stuck in the foster system put in shackles, even though they've done absolutely nothing wrong.

CBS 2's Chris Tye first exposed the incident last night and has new details.

The new action taken Friday, and the lack of answers from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

He's 17, and on October 1, a transport company arrived at the back bay of a South Side shelter to move him to Palatine. On orders from DCFS to treat this as a "secure transport" they began to shackle the boy.

Shelter staff had never seen it before, so they called DCFS to see if it was necessary.

They said it was.

It wasn't.

"That's a profound civil right violation. They're not in the penal system. They're in the foster care system," said Charles Golbert, with Cook County Public Guardian.

It happened to a second teenager later that same day. And not until CBS 2 called DCFS was any admission of wrongdoing made.

"In 28 years, I have not heard of children being transported, whether it's in handcuffs or reports that I got, in shackles, including the legs, to a place."

On Friday, the Cook County Public Guardian called for an emergency order stopping the shackling of foster children and demanding to know how often it's happened.

DCFS said no to an on-camera interview about what exactly "secure transport" of youth entails and when its used. But a spokesperson said over the phone "there are some guidelines, but it's not clear what the policies are, and there are gaps in that policy."

DCFS was asked if the agency could provide a handbook on those policies.

"Not at this time," said the spokesperson.

According to state law, no child in a facility licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services shall be subjected to mechanical restraints.

The department adding...

"The use of restraints in this case was totally unacceptable and against department policy. DCFS is investigating the incident and putting additional policies and procedures in place immediately to ensure youth are never restrained during transport unless it is clinically necessary."

What happens to a department when rules are broken like this?

Discipline can range from putting the department in receivership to fines.

It goes before a judge next week.



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