CBS Local is reporting that the Illinois Department of Human Services (“DHS”) is finally moving residents from Graywood Foundation, a state-licensed group home in Charleston, Illinois, and working towards shutting down the facility. As Rich Miller of Capitol Fax says, this action is too late for the victims of Graywood. DHS has awarded this facility nearly $30 million in taxpayer dollars since 2001, despite allegations of Illinois wrongful death at the group home.
Dating back to 2003, state records revealed that there was 33 incidents of Graywood staff members abusing residential home residents. In one tragic instance, a forty-two year old Joliet man suffered a fatal beating. He was referred to as a gentle giant and functioned at the level of a 6 year-old. He was punched, kicked, and struck with a frying pan at his group home for reportedly taking a cookie. Two staff members at the group home have been charged in the brutal beating that led to the Illinois wrongful death. The other cases include sexual abuse, physical battery, and alleged coercion of residents to attack each other. In 2008, a resident was murdered by staff. The murder prompted an internal memo from the DHS Inspector General, warning that Graywood residents were at risk amid an increase of serious allegations of abuse and neglect.
DHS has revoked Graywood’s contract and is in the process of shutting down the home. A state lawmaker is calling for a criminal investigation into the facility and is working on legislation to protect residents of these facilities. Tragically, how many vulnerable Illinois citizens have been hurt while waiting for the government to step up and protect our state’s most vulnerable?