A federal lawsuit recently held child abuse pediatricians, hospitals, and the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) accountable for their actions with regard to situations involving Illinois child welfare. In his recent ruling, Judge Joe B. McDade of the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, denied the motion to dismiss filed by Dr. Channing Petrak, thereby establishing that she does not have qualified immunity.
Qualified immunity is a legal principle that protects state and local government officials from being sued for their actions in civil court (except in situations wherein the agent violates established statutory or constitutional rights). Before this ruling, pediatricians, hospitals, and DCFS enjoyed qualified immunity even when they knowingly took inappropriate actions to remove children from their homes. Thus, this ruling is a significant step forward in the fight against wrongful child removals, improving child welfare in Illinois, and preventing child abuse. Moreover, it illuminates the colossal need for integrity in child welfare proceedings by holding DCFS, and its contracted state agents, responsible for knowingly taking wrongful actions. Justice for Kids, a law firm for child abuse victims, is dedicated to improving child welfare across the nation, one case at a time.
Please contact us if you believe or know that DCFS or a state agent has taken wrongful actions in a situation involving child welfare.