Lawsuit Against DCFS Illinois for Children's Exposure to Sexual Abuse

In Katherine M. v. Ryder, 254 Ill. App. 3d 479, 487, 627 N.E.2d 42, 48, 193 Ill. Dec. 883 (1993) the plaintiffs, representing a class of children in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services (the DCFS) who were exposed to, suffered or perpetrated sexual abuse, sued the DCFS, seeking specialized services. Katherine M., 254 Ill. App. 3d at 481, 627 N.E.2d at 44. The DCFS moved to dismiss pursuant to section 2-619(a)(9) on the grounds that the action was rendered moot by a federal consent decree entered in another action brought against the DCFS by a class of all children in the DCFS custody. Katherine M., 254 Ill. App. 3d at 482, 627 N.E.2d at 45. Under the consent decree, the DCFS was to achieve a comprehensive reform of the child welfare system in Illinois, including the identification of and provision for any special needs of the children who suffered sexual abuse. Katherine M., 254 Ill. App. 3d at 484-85, 627 N.E.2d at 46-47. In addition, the implementation plan prepared pursuant to the consent decree indicated that the DCFS was in the process of identifying and developing services for children and adolescents who were sexual abuse perpetrators. Katherine M., 254 Ill. App. 3d at 485, 627 N.E.2d at 47. This court therefore found that the plaintiffs' needs were fully covered by the federal consent decree and the implementation plan and, consequently, their action was moot. Katherine M., 254 Ill. App. 3d at 486, 627 N.E.2d at 47-48.