Illinois Bans Handcuffing, Shackling of Foster Children

Nov 14, 2019

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has banned the use of shackles and handcuffs on youths in its custody after two teenage boys were restrained.

The 15-year-old and 17-year-old boys were handcuffed and shackled at their ankles on Oct. 1 while being transferred separately from a Chicago shelter to another in Palatine.

Department spokesman Jassen Strokosch said Wednesday that the use of such restraints "was totally unacceptable and against department policy" and that the ban was effective immediately. He says the agency will still allow "soft restraints" made of cloth that would only be used when a judge or psychiatrist orders it.

The change comes amid an inspector general investigation into the department's use of restrains. Child welfare workers say hard restraints can further traumatize youths who enter state care because of abuse or neglect.