Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Protecting kids in court ought to be a priority

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Daily Southtown
by Phil Kadner

Each weekday, thousands of people file into the 5th District Municipal Courthouse in Bridgeview.

Many of them are women, some seeking orders of protection against abusive husbands.

They often bring their children because there is no one left at home to care for them.

So the youngsters sit and listen as Mom describes how Dad threatened to kill her, or beat her with his fists or engaged in other unseemly behavior.

Dad may call Mom "a witch," or worse, spelling out in detail why the judge should consider the woman nothing more than a lying, cheating slut.

Everyone in the courtroom, judges, lawyers and parents, would tell you they want to protect these children.

So what are they doing there?

Cook County's 6th Municipal District Courthouse, in Markham, found a solution to this problem 10 years ago.

It's called the K.C. Conlon Children's Room, named for the deceased son of Cook County Judge Claudia and former Rich Township Supervisor Kevin Conlon.

At the urging of the presiding judge at that time, Sheila Murphy, the county set up the room on the first floor of the courthouse and staffed it.

Any parent who has to come to court can sign their child in to the room, which has toys and games for the children.

The same adult who signed the child in must sign the child out.

It's not strictly for the offspring of parents involved in domestic disputes.

A single father who has to appear in court for a traffic violation can leave his children there while he waits for his case to be called.

The K.C. Conlon Room was the first of its type in Cook County.

It was such a success that it's been repeated in just about every other county courthouse.

The Bridgeview court building is one of two in Cook County without such a facility, I am told.

"The presiding judge in Bridgeview has been trying to get funding for a children's room for several years," said Jean Tobin, who works out of the courthouse for the Cook County Family Violence Coordinating Council.

"You just don't want the little ones in a courtroom listening to all the things that get said.

"Also, it can take time for a court case to be called. Children can become restless. It's better for everyone if they have someplace where they can play."

Apparently, Cook County has been unable to find the funding for a children's room in Bridgeview.

So you will see children in the halls. Children in the courtrooms.

Children exposed to all the things that take place in courtrooms and all the people who find themselves in such places.

With the political focus on protecting children these days, you would expect a children's room to be a priority. Apparently, it is not.

"It not only protects children from what they might hear in a courtroom," said Kevin Conlon, now a partner in the political consulting firm of Wilhelm and Conlon, "but it gives care givers a chance to look them over.

"Do the children have burn marks on their arms? Do they need scarves, warm winter coats or hats? Do they need a meal?

"All of that takes place in Markham," Conlon said. "The good that has been done there is immeasurable."

It also provides a rallying point for courthouse personnel and community residents.

In Markham, people regularly donate clothes and toys to the children's room, knowing it will serve a good purpose.

"And it's just nice to see children playing when you go into a courthouse," Conlon said.

"It's a reminder to everyone there about what's really important in life. Even if you are going through a divorce, it forces you to keep things in perspective and remember the children should come first."

There's really no need for a child to be in court when a parent is ordered by a judge to take a urine taste to make sure she is drug-free.

And if Mom tries to keep her children outside the courtroom and misses hearing her case being called, well, that can create another set of problems.

Sheriff's police, acting as guards in the courtrooms, and judges do their best to accommodate everyone.

But a court building is no place for children.

Typically, it can take more than an hour for a case to be called.

Imagine trying to deal with three or four small hyperactive children during that time period.

Just think of the potty breaks you would need.

And sometimes, people aren't very careful about the language they use in the court hallways.

Children who already are having a tough time at home just don't need to be subjected to all the stuff that goes on inside court buildings in Cook County.

I placed a call to Cook County's chief judge, Timothy Evans, to ask him why the Bridgeview children's room hadn't been made a priority. I didn't get any response.

There are more important things, I suppose.

Then again, maybe not.



Recent Headlines

The unfulfilled promise of Roseland's medical district
Monday, September 29, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County probation department's gun cases fall apart
Friday, September 26, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Land bank wants Fannie, Freddie to donate homes
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Old Cook County Hospital: Support for Museum at Site but Not Housing
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
DNAinfo

Fate of Cook County Hospital to Be Decided in Coming Weeks
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Curbed

Cook County seeking public input on former hospital site
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Clout-heavy assistant to Sheriff Dart can't keep track of time
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Harvey To Vote On Police Department Audit By Cook County Sheriff
Sunday, September 21, 2014
CBS Chicago

Pension crisis hits Cook County suburbs too
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Daily Southtown

Judicial system set to explore data-sharing
Friday, September 19, 2014
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Begins 24-Hour Tracking of Juvenile Offenders
Friday, September 19, 2014
CSNChicago.com

Full House As Glenview Trustees, County, Talk Housing Vouchers
Friday, September 19, 2014
Journal Online

Juvenile Offenders to Receive 24 Hour Monitoring
Friday, September 19, 2014
NBC 5

Critics: Juvenile Offender Monitoring Needs Overhaul In Wake Of Roseland Rape
Thursday, September 18, 2014
CBS 2

Grants to help Juvenile Court offenders
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
nwitimes.com

County Seeks Ideas for Old Cook County Hospital Redevelopment
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
DNAinfo

City backing bid for County tax break
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Pioneer Press

Probation officer suspended after teenís assault on CSU student
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Probation Officer For Teen Charged With Assaulting CSU Student Suspended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
CBS local

Thousands charged with drug possession walk free, leaving taxpayers with the tab
Sunday, September 14, 2014
The Chicago Reporter

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP