by Jeremy Kryn
CHICAGO, October 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Lawyers for Catholic Charities affiliates in three dioceses in Illinois are protesting in court after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) said it would transfer over 1,000 children from the church-run agencies by only a fraction of the original timeline.
The revelation comes at the same time as news broke that the Illinois child-welfare agency, which is taking over the children’s cases after the state passed its homosexual civil unions bill, has a history of subversively administering psychotropic drugs to children without permission.
“Why is the DCFS, particularly in light of the scandal that it is handling now, dealing with [Catholic Charities’] workload in a hasty manner,” asked attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, who is representing Catholic Charities, in an interview with LifeSiteNews. Breen pointed out that the state agency has only imposed the accelerated time frame on the three affiliates that are appealing the court decision that effectively pushed Catholic Charities out of adoptions because it won’t comply with the state’s new homosexual civil unions law.
Catholic Charities of the Peoria Diocese, which is not included in the appeal, has been allowed to operate “business as usual” until January 31, 2012, according to an affidavit filed October 19 by Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois executive director Gary Huelsmann. The other agencies, however, have only been given until November 30, 2011 to transfer the children in their care to secular agencies, or religious agencies that do not share the church-run agencies’ beliefs.
As the affidavit points out, the accelerated transfer time frame means that all children will already be transferred from the three Catholic Charities agencies before a court ever has a chance to hear their appeal.
The accelerated time frame “inevitably will cause disruption, dislocation, and discontinuity to at least some, if not a good many, of those children,” argues the October 19 affidavit.
“The DCFS has never in its history had to transfer this many children from this many counties from this many agencies,” said Breen. “This is a unique event in the history of the DCFS, and the DCFS staff are expediting the process for no reason that it has given to the public.”
The DCFS, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union, are opposing a Catholic Charities’ emergency motion asking an appellate court to stay a trial court’s order against the church-run agency and to prevent the State of Illinois from taking away all foster children under Catholic Charities’ care during the appeal.
Breen observed that a bill drafted by State Senator Kyle McCarter to let Catholic Charities continue to provide adoption services would alleviate the “lion’s share” of the issues with the State of Illinois. The leadership of the Illinois House and Senate may not, however, allow the bill to come up for a vote. If there is a vote, Governor Pat Quinn, a nominal Catholic, might veto the measure: so the legislature would need 60% support in order to override a veto.
The news of the expedited transfer to the state adoption agency, comes at the same time as Illinois’ executive inspector general accused DCFS director Erwin McEwen’s “personal friend and mentor,” George E. Smith, of administering psychotropic drugs to children. In addition, Smith is accused of “‘large-scale fraud’ involving millions of dollars in taxpayer money.”
Smith “forged signatures” and “used fake employees and turned in suspicious expense reports,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Investigators have found that there was little oversight or accountability by the DCFS.
McEwen, who resigned last month, informed Catholic Charities in July that the state would not accept their contracts for the Fiscal Year 2012 because the church-run agency had “made it clear” that it would not comply with a new homosexual civil unions law, which came into effect last June.