The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Neglecting Foster Children

Mar 20, 2023

This January, the Cook County Guardian—the official in charge of the County’s foster children—sued the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). Seventy-three foster children were held in the county’s juvenile detention facilities for weeks or months, because DCFS could not find a home for them to go to. Janiah Caine, now 18, was held for nearly half a year after her discharge, causing her to miss her grandmother’s funeral. “It feels like nobody cares about you, and they were the people supposed to get me out of a bad situation, but put me in another bad situation,” she said at a press conference for the lawsuit.

Why is this happening? DCFS says it does not have enough placements: not enough foster homes, not enough group homes, not enough residential facilities. The department by its own account served 425,000 children last year—up by more than half from a decade ago. The department’s budget during that decade did not increase—in fact, it dropped. Case workers are overloaded; many burn out quickly from overwork.

Young people in foster care have already seen the worst of this society—that’s how they end up in the system. They pass from a terrible situation, only to be confronted with institutional neglect at the hands of DCFS.

It’s quite telling: when the banking system is threatened, the ruling class moves heaven and earth to try to address the problem—immediately. But for these young people, they offer nothing.