PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — A video gained viral attention after a 5-year-old girl with special needs was recorded sleeping in the office of a Chicago-land DCFS building.
Many are criticizing the agency that is meant to protect children from these types of conditions.
The Children’s Home in Peoria gets referrals from DCFS of kids that are in need of a home should The Children’s Home offers the services they require.
The Children’s Home holds 50 kids on their campus in their living spaces. Unable to house any more due to spatial restraints, The Children’s Home set up a waitlist for individuals. Once that list became too large, they set up another waitlist for the waitlist.
Interim President and CEO of The Children’s Home Stephanie Alkhafaji thinks problems like this occur because there simply isn’t enough space.
“There’s not enough placement options for at-risk youth in the state of Illinois. There are not enough foster families, not enough specialized foster families not enough residential placements, there isn’t enough psychiatric hospitalization available for the kids in our community and as a result some of these kids end up stuck in a system that is really broken and that 5-year-old girl is indicative to that,” said Alkhafaji.
Currently, more than 900 kids are in need of foster homes in Peoria County, making it the 3rd largest county of at-risk youth in Illinois.