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Chicago Task Force Will Take on Ticket and Debt Collection Reform

The group is part of an effort to make vehicle ticketing less unfair.

A Chicago Psychiatric Hospital Will Lose Federal Funding Over Safety and Abuse Issues Involving Children in State Care

At the same time, a federal judge said he will appoint a monitor to oversee the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. “The stakes cannot be higher,” the judge said.

Here’s What We’ve Been Reading This Week

Let us know about any interesting reporting you’ve come across.

Chicago Throws Out 23,000 Duplicate Tickets Issued Since 1992 to Motorists Who Didn’t Have Vehicle Stickers

The move is the city’s latest effort to reform its troubled ticketing and debt collection practices.

What We’re Thankful For: Being Able to Make a Difference in Illinois

Our mission is to spur real-world change through journalism. In the last several weeks, we’ve seen change begin to come about on two issues our reporters have brought to light and doggedly pursued.

9-Year-Old Alleges Staff Member at Chicago Psychiatric Hospital Choked and Restrained Her

The report brings the number of investigations by Illinois’ child welfare agency into allegations of abuse or neglect at Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital to 19 since January.

Where Do We Find Our Story Ideas?

They’re everywhere. Sometimes, we drive right by them.

ACLU of Illinois Demands Removal of Children in DCFS Care From Troubled Chicago Hospital

More allegations of sexual abuse at Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, already under government scrutiny, have surfaced.

Get Out of Jail for a Price: The First Investigation From Our Illinois Reporting Project

Over the next few months, we’ll publish more stories from across the state — including ones that look at topics involving the environment and worker safety.

Chicago City Council Members Seek Hearing on Psychiatric Hospital

Aldermen ask for hearing to address allegations of sexual and physical abuse at Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital.

Chicago City Council Approves Modest First Reforms on Ticketing and Debt

The changes signal a growing acknowledgement that the city’s reliance on fines and fees to generate revenue has come at a significant cost for some residents.

Top Chicago Alderman Adds to Growing Momentum for Ticket and Debt Reform

The proposal, the latest in a series of reforms aiming to respond to growing public pressure, would make it easier for motorists to avoid having their driver’s licenses suspended.

Diversion Programs Say They Offer a Path Away From Court, but Critics Say the Tolls Are Hefty

The programs raise legal and ethical questions, including whether they create an uneven playing field for defendants and financial incentives for prosecutors to dispose of cases in ways they might not otherwise.

The Election Is Over. And Now the Next Elections Begin.

After Tuesday’s bluebath, Democrats dominate. But what comes next?

Illinois DCFS Agrees to Outside Inquiry at Psychiatric Hospital Where Children Have Reported Abuse

Under mounting pressure, the state child welfare agency agreed to a broad investigation, but the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocates said they will remain vigilant.

Chicago Considers Wiping Away Old Ticket Debt for Motorists Who File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The proposal is intended to discourage drivers from filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but it does nothing to change onerous payment plans for motorists who don’t file at all.

Illinois Child Welfare Agency Agrees to Stop Sending Children to Psychiatric Hospital Where Children Reported Abuse but Balks at Full Investigation

The Department of Children and Family Services’ inspector general and the American Civil Liberties Union say a limited investigation doesn’t go far enough.

Reporting on the Layers of Potential Harm for Children in Psychiatric Hospitals

It’s a systemic problem involving the agency charged with caring for those children.

Lawmakers Call for Independent Inquiry at Psychiatric Hospital After ProPublica Illinois Report on Abuse of Children

One legislator said she was “disgusted” by the revelations and said the children “deserve to be safe.”

Chicago Alderman Proposes Reining in Ticket Penalties That Drove Thousands of Black Motorists Into Debt

The proposal would cap late penalties and create community service alternatives to some fines.

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