4 Illinois Immigrant Shelters Will Close After Repeated Incidents of Child Maltreatment
For more than 20 years, the Chicago area has been the temporary home to many migrant children detained after crossing the border. Some of these young immigrants were either alone or were taken from their immigrant parents to now be overseen by the U.S. Health and Human Services department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. Currently, the largest caretaker for these children in Illinois is a 130-year-old nonprofit, Heartland Human Care Services, part of Heartland Alliance. ProPublica Illinois published a detailed report on December 21, 2018 which revealed several Heartland facilities had been involved in a series of disturbing federal investigations focused on the alleged abuse and neglect of migrant children.
Heartland is in the news again as the group announced it will close four shelters by the end of May. The shelters to be closed are located in the suburban Chicago community of Des Plaines and located on the campus of Maryville Academy, a Catholic child welfare agency. Heartland officials released a memo stating that the group also plans to add staff, employee care training and other resources at its remaining five facilities located in Chicago’s Rogers Park, Bronzeville, Englewood and Beverly neighborhoods. The closings are likely in response to the current administration’s zero-tolerance immigration push and related challenges, as well as in reflection of an ending lease on these facilities. Heartland officials say they plan to move children out of the Des Plaines shelters starting immediately.