Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Child-care room in courthouses should be a county priority

Monday, December 19, 2005
Daily Southtown
Editorial

THE ISSUE: Cook County has child-care facilities in some courthouses but not all of them. The cost is too high to construct them in Bridgeview and other locations, officials say.
WE SAY: In relative terms, the cost involved is low. If county officials really care about kids as much as they say they do, they should find the money to get these rooms built.

Daily Southtown columnist Phil Kadner has written a couple of columns in recent weeks about the lack of a children's room at the Bridgeview courthouse, which houses the 5th District of Cook County Circuit Court.

The Markham courthouse, where the 6th District is headquartered, has had a children's room since the mid-1990s, when the presiding judge at the time, Sheila Murphy, insisted on setting one up. The children's room is a kid-friendly safe haven in the court building, a place where a parent can leave a child under responsible supervision while the parent takes care of whatever court business brings him or her to Markham that day.

That court business can be anything from a dad answering a traffic citation to a mom testifying against her husband in a domestic abuse case. As Kadner has pointed out, plenty of things get said in those courtrooms that a loving parent would not want his or her child to hear, whether it's some stranger explaining why he had to plow into another car while he was drunk, or the child's mother describing the mental or physical abuse she has been exposed to by her child's father.

In the children's room in Markham, a child can find toys and games to play with other kids, under the supervision of trained adults. They also can be examined by qualified care-givers, if the parent consents, for injuries, illnesses or other problems.

There is also a child-care room in Maywood's district court branch and at three court facilities in Chicago. But five facilities in Chicago and three in the suburbs, including Bridgeview, don't have such accommodations. Why not? Too expensive.

Cook County has too many other responsibilities, a perennial problem coping with a deficit and, apparently, more important priorities.

A spokesman for the chief judge of the court system said children's rooms are a priority. But the cost of preparing a space for such a use is estimated at $150,000. The cost of staffing is estimated at $115,000 per location each year. If the county built a room at each location, that would be more than $1 million. Staff costs would be almost $1 million a year.

That's a lot of money, of course.

But the county spends $3 billion a year on all the things it does for us taxpayers. And we have to believe that Cook County's elected officials could find $150,000 a year for the next eight years to build children's rooms, if they really wanted to do it. Sometimes we wonder if that much money isn't lost in the seat cushions in the various county buildings.

In this space last week we criticized county officials for planning yet another round of tax hikes on cigarettes and hotel rooms, to pay for additional spending. Today we're calling for more spending on children's rooms in the courthouse, which some might say is contradictory. We don't believe it is. We believe the county should eliminate wasteful, unnecessary spending, but we believe children's rooms would be neither unnecessary nor wasteful.

There is the possibility of seeking donations to help with such projects as a way of keeping down the cost to taxpayers. The Maywood facility is run with the help of the Loyola University Medical Center, which sends social workers and nurses to evaluate children and work in the room. Loyola volunteered to help. Other hospitals might be able to help at other locations if county officials asked them to.

Maybe some of the high-powered law firms in town would be willing to donate a tiny percentage of their proceeds to help build and run such facilities. We know that lawyers are good-hearted, generous people who often get unfairly criticized and would love to show people what they're really like.

The point is that protecting our children is probably the single most important responsibility we have. Everyone knows that; every politician says that. Protecting our children from the kinds of things they can see and hear in our courtrooms ought to be near the top of the county's to-do list.

Do Commissioners Stroger, Quigley, Claypool and Peraica — all of whom want to be county board president — have any thoughts on how to address this issue? We hope so.



Recent Headlines

Illinois Supreme Court sets civil, criminal fee schedule
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Seniors: Are your Cook County property taxes delinquent? Your home could be at risk
Thursday, February 14, 2019
WLS Abc 7 Chicago

Editorial: Look out, taxpayers: When governments have more pensioners than employees
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of accused criminals on electronic monitoring are missing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Glenview adopts Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, effective July 1
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit over property tax assessments survives challenge
Monday, February 11, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

EXPERIENCE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE FOREST PRESERVES THROUGHOUT WINTER
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail detainee dies at Stroger Hospital
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Pro Publica

Charges dismissed against man accused of threatening judge
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Daily Herald

Double Down: Twin Brothers Rehabbing Chicago
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Defender

Slowik: Residents, officials celebrate rehab work at public housing sites
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Daily Southtown

Class action: Evanston can't charge 'convenience fees' to people paying tickets online
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Cook County Rercord

390 arrested in nationwide prostitution sting, including 38 in Cook County
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

As we build a road, we will protect the forest preserves
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Campaign to weed out European buckthorn across the suburbs
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Northwest Herald

Airbnb hosts in Cook County earned $109 million last year: report
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County senior exemption deadline extended
Monday, February 04, 2019
Daily Herald

Decadelong legal battle over Barrington Hills horse farm — eyed as huge forest preserve — may be nearing resolution
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: Protect iconic forest preserve from concrete overkill
Sunday, February 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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