Durbin Presses Heartland Alliance To Look Into Allegations Of Physical & Emotional Abuse At Chicago Facility

Senator also asks HHS OIG to look into these specific allegations as part of its broader investigation into the implementation of the Trump Administration’s child separation policy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged Heartland Alliance, an Illinois-based social services agency, to look into the disturbing allegations of physical and emotional abuse made by children who were recently cared for at Casa Guadalupe, a Chicago shelter run by Heartland, and take immediate steps to determine what happened, who was responsible, and to ensure that nothing like this happens to any child in the care of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contracted facility.  Durbin’s letter comes after a troubling story, which appeared in The Washington Post on July 15, 2018.  The article details a number of disturbing allegations made by children being cared for at Casa Guadalupe after being separated from their parents as a result of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” child separation policy.

“I am distressed at the allegations made by children in The Washington Post article and request that you notify me as soon as possible whether these accounts are accurate, what steps Heartland will take to hold the alleged perpetrators accountable, and how Heartland will work to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again,” Durbin wrote in a letter to David Sinski, Executive Director and Vice President at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights.  “Children separated from their families at our Southern border as a result of President Trump’s unlawful and heartless policy have already endured far more trauma than any child should ever be forced to endure.  Every effort must be made to ensure that, once in the care of HHS grantees like Heartland, these children are compassionately cared for—both physically and emotionally.”

In June – at Durbin and 40 other Democratic Senators’ request – the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) opened an investigation into implementation of the family separation policy.  Today, Durbin sent a follow up letter to the HHS OIG specifically asking that the OIG investigation look into concerning allegations leveled against Casa Guadalupe.

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