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Shackling Of Foster Kids 10 Times More Common Than Initially Reported By State

CHICAGO (CBS) – Last month CBS 2 broke the news of two Chicago foster kids shackled while in custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.

New, CBS 2's Chris Tye is uncovering new documents, showing the number of foster care kids in shackles is actually 10 times what we were told by the state.

Jawan Cross was shackled, on orders from DCFS, on a transport from a Chicago youth center to the suburbs.

We obtained DCFS transport records that show over the last 2.5 years 28 cases where restraints—leg shackles and handcuffs—were used on foster kids.

In November 2017, the documents show a 17-year-old girl was transported in those restraints from Chicago to Detroit, a 4.5 hours trip.

"At some point, and I don't know what that point is, but this is torture," said Cook County public guardian Charles Golbert.

The state contract calls for the Jim Steward transport company, not state experts, to determine the "proper methods of containment and if necessary restraint."

"To delegate that to a bus company is illegal, unconstitutional, outrageous and stupid," Golbert said.

DCFS apologized for the shackling, but after our report aired, state representative Sue Scherer drafted a new state bill.

"We have to have a judge oversee this and making the decision before one of these adolescent kids can be shackled," Scherer said..

Chicago foster kids have also shackled for parts of trips to three cities in Tennessee-Memphis, Jackson and Waverly--and Fordyce, Ark.

Locked down for being unlucky.

"They're all involved in DCFS because they have the misfortune of being born to broken families or abusive families," said Golbert said.

Two of the 28 cases of shackling came at the request of expters, but there is no reason given for why they were needed.

DCFS has ordered the transportation company to stop using restraints of any kind.

A judge has ruled any restraints must come on orders from a court or a psychologist and two senior DCFS officials.

We asked DCFS to comment on this story today; they did not return our messages.

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