Blanks: System often makes good parents 'enemies of the state'

Friday, 05 May 2017, 10:38:14 AM. Christopher 'Brotha' Blanks says that in the best interest of our children and their families, DCFS of Lake County is in urgent need of immediate attention and reform.

It is without question that any and every organization sincerely and genuinely working in the best interest of the security and protection of our children is worth its weight in gold and efforts.

So it is quite safe to say that our local Department of Children and Family Services in Lake County has its place in society, yet I will be quick to firmly suggest not in every case. It is a very delicate, detailed and critical feat in balancing and examining the legitimate from the illegitimate complaints and cases of abuse fielded regularly. Yet, I'm sure many, if not all, will agree, all complaints are worthy of and warrant immediate attention and thorough examination.

Many have suggested our local DCFS office in Lake County is long overdue for an immediate overhaul, top down. Suggesting that for years, DCFS in Lake County has gotten it more wrong than right and due to no fault of some of its hardworking staff and case workers, many of which truly have the best interest of children at heart. There are citizens and families, however, who will call into question the accountability and professionalism of some top administrators and their much too cozy relationships with other local and state agencies.

Many feel that DCFS, and similar agencies throughout the nation, lack the full capacity to remain objective and transparent and in many cases are ineffective or outright dishonest in their findings because of their relationships with various police departments, prosecutors, other state agencies, school districts or teachers unions.

Many contend DCFS and similar agencies both nationally and locally much too often become involved where they shouldn't. And in cases where they should, they are often unaccountable, apathetic and much too sympathetic to the offender.

Such is the case of a mother in Waukegan who filed complaints against a Waukegan teacher with the Waukegan Police Department in 2015 for the alleged inappropriate touching of her 8-year-old special needs child by a male teacher. The mother allegedly was told it had been founded and confirmed by the school district that such actions did occur, while such claims where dismissed as unfounded by DCFS of Lake County. Yet, the teacher was removed from District 60 with no option to return under the present administration.

Many parents in the community continue to complain that their children are being stripped from their very arms and homes for no legitimate reasons of urgency, emergency nor protection, while others suggest that when their children are abused or harmed in various schools or juvenile facilities, DCFS has been too slow to move and even quicker to dismiss complaints against its fellow state agencies and local police departments.

Many often suggest it doesn't take much to see the blatant hypocrisy of many DCFS agencies throughout the country, from battered and abused mothers to fathers or single full-time dads who dare to shoulder their responsibilities as they rightfully should and as society suggests.

Society today encourages children to call the authorities on their parents, which generally leads to DCFS involvement and investigations. But many have suggested that on the north end of the spectrum, those who have or are politically affluent and may possibly be the very worst of parents, such a call could simply mean parents or a parent are talked to with dignity, respect and compassion, resulting in no charges, arrest nor children taken.

On the south end of the spectrum of the have-nots, poor and underprivileged with less than politically affluent resources who may in fact be some of the best of parents, parents or a parent allegedly are often approached or confronted with doubt, distrust, humiliation and degradation and their children taken. This often results in fractured families and extenuating financial hardship with much help from a fellow state agency, or the prosecuting state's attorney's office. It's often implied these agencies work in concert with each other in the name of criminal convictions, to undermine truth and justice or just simply covering for one another and having nothing to do with guilt, innocence nor protection.

Considering much too often we find abusive day care providers in all classes of society, it is alleged that some affluent yet abusive day care providers of the politically connected have been known to get a pass, while many grassroots and caring day care providers are prosecuted and persecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Many parents or citizens are reduced to "Enemies of the State" before proven guilty or without fair and due process. Families allegedly continue to experience first-hand knowledge of this cruel and inhumane treatment.

It is implied in some cases even well respected members and people of the community have not been exempt from the treachery of the local DCFS and accompanying state agencies, but the hardest of those hit and suffering under the pain, agony and hardships are the poor and underprivileged, those destitute of finances to fight or just simply those who don't have the voice, confidence or knowledge to appeal, stand and fight. What a travesty and mockery of justice.

As parents have alleged, children have been taken from safe and responsible homes, some never to be seen again, and surrendered or committed to abusive situations and unsafe environments.

Many also feel that local DCFS administrators and top brass have been getting a pass as well, with low to no real accountability. I for one am in total agreement and suggest that Lake County's DCFS office is in urgent need of immediate attention and reform in the best interest of our children and their families.

Accountability … top down.


Chris "Brotha" Blanks is the founding chief president of the Black Abolition Movement for the Mind and is an author, poet, actor and performing artist.

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