Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

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.

  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.

Cook County chaos

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Chicago Tribune

The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center is out of control. Children languish there like warehoused animals, while millions of dollars are wasted on do-nothing jobs filled by unqualified workers and patronage stooges. ... Kids live in filthy surroundings, with little guidance, under the supervision of workers whose behaviors cheat the residents even more than they cheat Cook County taxpayers.

That's how this page described Cook County's juvenile center in August 2005. Nothing has changed since then.
In the last two years a slew of experts has detailed that the facility, which houses children ages 10 to 17 who are accused of crimes, remains plagued by filth, professional incompetence and dangerous conditions.

Children at the center face "an alarming risk of suicide and inadequate mental health services" and "a climate of fear and violence," say attorneys who represent them. Kids are beaten by staff members and other kids. Attorneys point to "a culture of chaos and incompetence" and "a persistent failure to provide basic necessities."

More than four years ago, the federal court mandated a step-by-step plan to rescue the juvenile center. Cook County leaders agreed to that plan, but they have utterly failed to honor the agreement. And now things have reached a perilous state.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union asked U.S. District Judge John Nordberg to place the juvenile center in receivership. That's a severe step, but a necessary one.

A receiver would likely be granted greater authority over budget matters, contracts and hiring and firing. A receiver could break the stranglehold that patronage politics has had on the place. A receiver could rescue the kids who live amid rodents, the kids who suffer from mental illnesses and can't get medications.

The request for receivership comes at an awkward time. The Illinois legislature has just approved a bill that would take control of the center away from Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and turn it over to Tim Evans, chief judge of the Circuit Court. We support the bill and hope the governor signs it. But it wouldn't go into effect until January at the earliest. That's too long a time to wait. The situation is too immediate and too dire.

The latest evidence:

In recent months, the center's medical services accreditation has been revoked.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which has national expertise in juvenile justice, dispatched several consultants to work with facility leaders to improve the place. But the foundation has now dropped out, citing the futility of the effort.

In the last year, the center has had three superintendents -- all three failed. People who had the expertise and experience to bring changes at the center were canned by Stroger. Yet he kept in place unqualified political appointees like Maria Moreno Szafarczyk, sister of county Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno.

So change is needed right now.

Eventually, the center will come under the control of the Circuit Court. But the appointment of a receiver would get quick results and buy time for Judge Evans and his aides to get up to speed on the problems there, to learn from the experts who have been evaluating the place for years.

At a hearing in federal court Thursday, Nordberg suggested he understood the urgency here. We hope he acts quickly on that understanding.

Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

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