Court rules to shut down home where 9 kids were found living in squalor

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Thursday, March 9, 2017
Police said children found living in 'squalor'
Nine children were taken from a Chicago home Sunday after they were found living with no food or heat.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On Thursday, a Chicago court ruled to vacate and shut down a dilapidated Englewood home where nine children were found living in squalor last weekend.

The occupants must leave by Tuesday. Police already removed the children.

The children ranged in age from a toddler to early teens and belonged to two different mothers.

Police also contacted the DCFS. Deputy Director Debra Dyer-Webster is guardian to about 15,000 kids in the state. And while she cannot talk about the specifics of this case she said there are dozens of similar cases reported to the DCFS every month.

She said the situations could be easily avoided. She said help for the families is readily available.

"Most people think we just want to take the children but what the department wants to do is help keep the family together," Dyer-Webster said.

The building's landlord said the families living in the home were squatters. They were living there illegally. They had no gas service and allegedly rewired outside to steal electricity.

David Coleman said he was unaware children were living there.

"Every time I would come, nobody would answer the door. I called the police several times," he said.

"I wish I would have known. Maybe we could have come together and helped the family," Nick Brown, a neighbor, said.

Chicago police said they have filed no charges against the parents in this case.

But the investigation by area south detectives continues.

City officials said the owner failed to properly secure the residence.

A follow-up hearing is set for one week from Thursday.