This story was co-published with the Chicago Sun-Times.
Eight months after its shelters for immigrant children came under public scrutiny over allegations of abuse and lax supervision, Heartland Human Care Services says it will close four shelters in suburban Chicago and add staff, training and other resources at its remaining five facilities.
The decision, announced to employees in a memo Friday, comes as another agency, Maryville Academy, plans to open two additional shelters, including one as early as next month.
Heartland officials told ProPublica Illinois they plan to move children out of its four shelters in Des Plaines between now and the end of May. Altogether, the Des Plaines shelters can house as many as 116 children and teens; the change will cut Heartland’s total capacity under state rules a little more than 20 percent, from 512 to 396.
[For more on this story by Melissa Sanchez, Duaa Eldeib, and Jodi S. Cohen, go to https://www.propublica.org/art...ose-immigrant-youth?]