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
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  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.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



Cuts threaten child protection system: lawyers

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
by Stephanie Potter

The proposed elimination of juvenile court hearing officers has some attorneys worried about the effects on abused and neglected children.
''It's too bad when one of the success stories faces the ax,'' said Diane C. Geraghty, director of the Civitas Child Law Center at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans included the cuts in his 2007 budget request. The proposal would eliminate 14 hearing officers, for a savings of $1.17 million.
County Board President Todd H. Stroger asked officeholders to make substantial cuts in an effort to close a $500 million budget deficit. He has pledged not to recommend a tax increase.
Budget hearings are ongoing. By law, the budget must be passed by Feb. 28.
Evans said the decision to cut hearing officers was not an easy one, but was necessary because of the county's deficit. He said when the hearing officer program started in the mid-1990s, there was a backlog of about 35,000 cases in the Child Protection Division. Now, there are between 7,000 and 9,000 pending cases annually.
''We're at a point now where the judges can handle the balance of cases alone if they have to,'' Evans said.
Geraghty said the hearing officers fill a vital role. Hearing officers, who submit recommended orders to judges, conduct permanency hearings to ensure that children in foster care find long-term homes.
''The number of cases in the child protection system is down,'' Geraghty said. ''What that has meant is that the judges for the first time in a decade have been able to meet national standards for spending time on cases.''
Without the hearing officer system in place, Geraghty fears that permanency hearings could become a formality. She also expressed concern about the effect of cuts to the state's attorney's and public defender's offices on the child protection system.
''I have concerns about the entire system imploding and putting us back where we were a decade ago,'' Geraghty said.
At that point, she said, there existed what was known as ''foster care drift,'' or children growing up in the system without anyone making sure they received the services the judge intended.
''Permanency legislation was meant to ensure accountability by stakeholders,'' she said.
Cook County Public Guardian Robert F. Harris said the hearing officers were brought on board following a lawsuit his office filed in the early 1990s due to a backlog of abuse and neglect cases. The public guardian represents children in those cases.
Harris, whose own office could lose about 15 staff members in the budget cuts, said he would like to see some hearing officers kept on the job.
''Obviously, all of these cuts are going to affect my clients and their families,'' Harris said. ''It's going to cause a lot of delay in our abilities to be able to react quickly and effectively to be able to protect children.''
In his budget address last week to the Cook County Board's Finance Committee, State's Attorney Richard A. Devine raised the issue.
Devine said Child Protection Division judges now hear 2,673 cases a year, while the hearing officers have a caseload of 6,409.
''Between the hearing officers being cut and the public guardian being cut, there is going to be an impact on the court, there is going to be an impact on our office and there is going to certainly be an impact on the judges and their ability to handle their case loads,'' Devine said.
Devine compared the Child Protection Division to offensive linemen in football.
''If everything goes right and all the monitoring is right and things happen correctly, nobody notices,'' Devine said. ''But if you make a mistake and a child dies, it's headline news.''



Recent Headlines

While detainees sit, Cook County bail reform drags on
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Morning Spin: Dorothy Brown contract stalls amid accusations of 'potential half-truths'
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Chicago Tribune

South Austin man charged in shooting near Cook County courthouse
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Man wounded in hail of gunfire outside Cook County courthouse
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Des Plaines Mayor Says Compost Proposal On Dump Site Will Be Delayed
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Journal Online

Man wounded in hail of gunfire outside Cook County courthouse
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Ensuring Earlier Access to Attorneys for Arrestees in Chicago
Monday, March 20, 2017
wttw Chicago Tonight

Officials: Glencoe, Forest Preserve District close to finalizing golf club land use agreement
Friday, March 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

The mysterious case of Philippe Loizon and $200,000 charged to Cook County taxpayers
Friday, March 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

6 Ways the Republicansí Proposed Health Care Bill Could Impact Cook County
Friday, March 17, 2017
Chicago Magazine

Cook County Board Lobbying Activity Dropped In 2016
Thursday, March 16, 2017
The Daily Line

River Forest opts out of Cook County minimum wage, sick leave rules
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Clerk Orr: Sugary drink tax, ridesharing tax ordinance were focus of Cook County lobbying activity in 2016
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Board Lobbying Activity Dropped In 2016
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Daily Line

Kim Foxx planning to revamp Cook County wrongful-conviction unit
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Sheriff dropped from lawsuit challenging bail; focus now on Cook County judges
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Injustice Watch

Cook County Pushing To Make It Easier To Expunge Juvenile Records
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
WBEZ

Making it easier to get juvenile arrest records expunged
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Daily Northwestern

Cook County Jail Is Being Dropped From Lawsuit Against Jail
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
US News and World Report

Still radical at 75, Bernardine Dohrn says turn Cook County Jail into park
Monday, March 13, 2017
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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