Durbin Statement On Completion Of Internal Investigation Of Heartland Alliance Into Allegations Of Physical & Emotional Abuse At Chicago Facility

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after Heartland Alliance, an Illinois-based social services agency, announced that their internal investigation found no evidence to support reported allegations of physical and emotional abuse made by children who were recently cared for at Casa Guadalupe, a Chicago shelter run by Heartland:

I’m pleased that Heartland Alliance took my call for a timely internal investigation seriously.  The allegations made by children in The Washington Post article were distressing.  It is my hope that the ongoing HHS OIG investigation, as well as the Department of Children and Family Services investigation into Heartland, will be completed in a thorough and timely manner.

Children separated from their families at our Southern border as a result of President Trump’s zero-tolerance 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.

Two weeks ago, Durbin urged Heartland to look into the disturbing allegations of physical and emotional abuse made by children who were recently cared for at Casa Guadalupe, and to 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 followed 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.

Two weeks ago, Durbin also called on the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) to specifically look into concerning allegations leveled against Casa Guadalupe as part of their investigation into the implementation of the Trump Administration’s family separation policy.

- 30 -