Protective Custody of a Child During Investigation of Alleged Abuse

In Rapp v. State, 51 Ill.Ct.Cl. 72 (1998), DCFS took temporary protective custody of a four-month old child within a two-month period of the initial investigation of abuse. Rapp, at 74. Approximately one month after the second episode of protective custody, a hearing was held in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Id. As a result of that hearing, the child was placed with his maternal grandmother, despite the fact that she resided in the same building as his legally determined neglectful mother. Id. The Circuit Court did not take custody and did not grant guardianship of the child to DCFS. Id. The Court set conditions of protection with respect to the mother's responsibilities, but unfortunately, those conditions were not met and the young boy died. Id. Of particular interest is the testimony of the DCFS investigator (Mr. VanHoose) who investigated the allegations of abuse involving the infant decedent, Rapp, and took temporary protective custody of the minor. Id., at 74-75. Mr. VanHoose admitted that he failed to follow the policy and procedure of the DCFS; that a protective custody order should have been entered at hearing and that the father should have been granted custody. Id. Mr. VanHoose stated that the mother's negligent conduct per his investigation met the DCFS criteria for protective custody but that he failed to request said protective custody he obtained at the hearing in Circuit Court.