(the child pictured above is not any of the children mentioned below)
According to an internal investigation by Heartland Alliance in Chicago, claims of abuse by three children was found to be not true.
A Chicago shelter accused of mistreating migrant children separated from their parents said Tuesday that an internal investigation had found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Heartland Alliance said a two-week investigation, including an extensive review of video footage, turned up no evidence of physical abuse at Casa Guadalupe. Three children had described disturbing incidents to The Washington Post and the New York Times after they were reunited with their parents.
Among the most serious allegations recounted in a July 15 Post story: Two boys from Brazil, 10 and 9, said they had seen a shelter employee repeatedly give injections to a 5-year-old from Guatemala, after which the boy became sleepy. An 11-year-old boy from Guatemala claimed he had been roughly dragged off a soccer field. And the 10-year-old from Brazil said he had been denied medical attention after breaking his arm.
“We were horrified to read those allegations,” said Evelyn Diaz, the president of Heartland Alliance, in a conference call with reporters. “Honestly, they came as a huge surprise to us. And we took them very seriously.”
While state and federal authorities continue to pursue their own investigations, Diaz said Heartland wanted to release its findings as soon as possible.
“We are confident that we have conducted a thorough investigation,” she said, “but if [the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services] surfaces some information that is going to help us do our jobs better or that indicates any unsafe practices, we’ll take immediate action. Our priority is always the safety of the children in our care.”
Here is the rest of the internal investigation’s findings.
Linda Coberly, a Heartland Alliance board member and a managing partner of Winston & Strawn LLP, which helped conduct the internal probe, said there had been “extensive” footage reviewed from Casa Guadalupe’s common areas, including the classrooms where the two Brazilian boys said they saw Adonias injected after he misbehaved.
“There is no evidence of children being injected in the classroom,” she said. Coberly added that shelter staff “do not use injectable medications to control behavior” and have no access to syringes. Instead, vaccinations were done at a separate building by medical professionals, she said.
Similarly, the internal investigation found no evidence that the Brazilian boy had broken his arm and been given a temporary cast by a shelter employee.
As far as the older Guatemalan boy’s claim that he was roughly dragged off a soccer field, Heartland Alliance said a child had complained in June that a staff member held him by the wrist. The incident was reported to DCFS, which took no action at the time but is now reinvestigating, the non-profit said.
“Interviews and a review of video indicate that the staff member behaved appropriately and that no child was dragged by anyone,” Heartland Alliance said in its report.
Now, this is obviously only the internal investigation however it seems that they have pretty strong proof none of this occurred. They claim to have video evidence of where this stuff supposedly took place which would debunk the claims.
They also have cooperated with other investigations. Democrat Richard Durbin who called for an investigation into Heartland Alliance said he was “pleased that Heartland Alliance took my call for a timely internal investigation seriously.”
He also said in a statement
“The allegations made by children in The Washington Post article were distressing,” “It is my hope that the ongoing [Health and Human Services Department] investigation, as well as the Department of Children and Family Services investigation into Heartland will be completed in a thorough and timely manner.”
Attorneys for all the children claim this investigation does nothing to change the allegations that were made.