Justice for 16 month old Semaj Crosby
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On Tuesday April 25, 2017 at approximately 5:45 p.m.16 month old Semaj Crosby was reported missing to Will County Sheriff's Department in unincorporated Joliet, Illinois. Per reports the family indicated to authorities Semaj Crosby wandered off at 4:30 p.m. Family searched unsuccessfully to find her the previous hour. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services claims to have visited the home where Semaj lives and made contact with Semaj her brothers and mother at 3:20 p.m. the same date. Will County Sheriffs as well as several assisting police departments, family, neighbors, and community members searched for Semaj throughout the night. Wednesday April 26, 2017 the search continued through the residential neighborhood, in fields, ponds, trails, and all through out the area. Additional police departments and the FBI became involved in the search for Semaj. FBI and Will County Sheriff requested to search Semaj's home again this time the request was met with some resistance. At approximately 11:00 p.m. Wednesday April 26, 2017 consent was given to search the home. At approximately midnight Semaj's body was discovered beneath a couch inside her own home. On Thursday April 27, 2017 Will County Land Use determined Semaj's residence to be unfit for occupancy as the home was in "deplorable conditions" including a non working stove, no visible sleeping quarters, as well as trash and debris throughout the home. Currently the police investigation into Semaj's death is ongoing. Her death is listed as suspicious and further study is needed to determine cause of death. (HN)
When questioned (May 3, 2017) about the living conditions of the home during the 3:20 p.m. visit that occurred Tuesday April 25, 2017 Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director George Sheldon responded "Illinois' child protection department does not take children into custody based on sanitary conditions alone...." (AP) Although Administrative Procedures calls for documenting and reporting A. Family Environment: Is the parent's home environment sufficient to meet his/her needs, adequate to meet children's basic needs? Basic health and SAFETY standards met? (administrative_procedure_5.pdf)
While Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is "conducting a review to determine what it missed if anything, and how it did so" in the case of Semaj Crosby, far too many children have been abused and killed while oversight and in most cases "under-sight" in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
We the undersigned respectfully request the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office to review the standard operating procedures of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Specifically the follow through of practices being executed on a consistent basis. Furthermore we request a comprehensive investigation into reports citing veteran investigators that stated "they are pressured to quickly close abuse and neglect cases even when children face serious harm." (CT) We request an implementation of Best Practices be put into place to prevent Environment Injurious to Health and Welfare in an effort to combat greater risk to children in contact with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services even in initial investigations.
We must not allow children to be left in indecent unsafe and unsanitary conditions. In many cases this neglect is the gateway to greater abuse that although unnoticed often occur regularly and unfortunately could lead to death of children which can be avoided.
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