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DCFS Admits It Still Has Not Placed Teen Who Has Been Held In Psychiatric Hospital For Months; Case Led To Contempt Finding Against Agency's Director

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as of Thursday had still yet to place a teen who has been locked in a psychiatric hospital for four months beyond when he was ready for release.

It is one of three cases in which DCFS Director Marc Smith has been held in contempt of court.

The 17-year-old has been locked in a psychiatric hospital more than four months after being ready to be released.

In court last week, it was stated that wrongly keeping the youth in a psychiatric facility is costing taxpayers $1,000 a day, or $30,000 a month.

On Thursday, DCFS acknowledge in court that it has still failed to place the teen properly. The agency is looking at different options, including a shelter.

Meanwhile, the teen himself is old enough to give notice and say he will be leaving the psychiatric hospital in 15 days.

DCFS has appealed the contempt of court finding against Smith. If the appeal is denied, $1,000-per-day fine will start racking up for every day the teen is not properly placed.

Meanwhile, a legislative hearing on the DCFS is scheduled for next Friday.

CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini earlier this month reported that a Cook County Juvenile Court judge earlier issued two other contempt of court orders against Smith for violating the rights of two children who were left languishing in facilities for months.

One of the earlier court orders against Smith describes how a 9-year-old girl suffered years of physical and sexual abuse at home. Then after entering DCFS care, she was put into a psychiatric hospital. She was medically ready to be discharged back in June 2021, but she's still hospitalized.

A judge wrote DCFS disobeyed numerous court orders to get the child out of the hospital in October and November. This is why DCFS Director Smith was held in contempt in the earliest cases.

The girl has been confined in the psychiatric hospital for 221 days since the date she was supposed to be discharged.

The other contempt order was issued after a 13-year-old boy in DCFS care was forced to sleep in a storage room.

"He was sleeping on the floor of a utility room in an office," said Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert. "Closet of an office."

That child was then sent to a downstate shelter and has been stuck there for 145 days - the reason for Smith's other contempt charge.

DCFS said in court last week said the 9-year-old and 13-year-old had been placed - so there were no fines associated with their cases.

DCFS had received repeated complaints regarding her dating back several years. At least five men had sexually assaulted her since the age of seven and she suffered other abuse. DCFS failed to put her in protective custody until her final rape case at the Grand Motel in October of 2020.

Last week, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Westchester) called for hearings and an investigation called for hearings and an investigation into DCFS.

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