For the Good of the Group 243
child harm, and that the parent unreasonably exposed his or her child to an obvious danger without
exercising precautionary measures.63
Despite the decision affirmed by the Illinois Supreme Court declaring Allegation 60 void,
DCFS continued to apply Allegation 60 in such a way that had already been declared void.64 While
DCFS was voluntarily unfounding indications made prior to the date of the Appellate Court
decision, they continued to use Allegation 60 to investigate and indicate families without
employing any of the limitations passed in P.A. 97-0803, thus violating the Illinois Supreme Court
When the Family Defense Center brought Ashley M., they were opposing DCFS’s use of
Allegation 60 after it had already been declared void.66 While each named plaintiff pled unique
facts, the relief sought on behalf of the class was that all subsequent indications under Allegation
60 were to be expunged. The Circuit Court in Ashley M. held that because the Supreme Court
previously found Allegation 60 to be void ab initio,67 it was as if P.A. 97-0803 had never been
passed.68 The Court therefore held that investigations and indications under Allegation 60 were
in violation of the Procedures Act and outside the scope of DCFS’s authority.69 Following this
ruling by a Circuit Court judge, this case eventually settled.70
The settlement agreement stated that DCFS had to expunge all indicated findings entered
in the one-and-a-half-year period between the Appellate Court ruling and the Supreme Court
ruling.71 The settlement also required that DCFS implement investigation procedures that
conformed to the new tenants and requirements of the new Allegation 60.72 Additionally, DCFS
was required to implement new training on the changes to all investigative staff and to issue a
memorandum to all service providers and employees informing them of the changes.73
This class action litigation was able to make a policy change that was not being
accomplished through the legislative process, as demonstrated by the repeatedly void versions of
Allegation 60 that were being unjustly used by DCFS.74 Similar to the B.H. Consent Decree, this
litigation required an outside agency to enforce DCFS policies, but in this case the policies already
should have been in place. Even after the Ashley M. settlement, DCFS continues to incorrectly
implement Allegation 60 to indicate mothers who are non-offending adult victims of domestic
63 Complaint at ¶ ¶ 32, 36, Ashley M. v. DCFS, No. 2013-CH-20278, 2013 WL 5273715, (Ill. Cir. Ct. Sept. 3,
64 89 ILL. ADMIN. CODE tit. 89, § 300 app. B (2014).
65 Complaint at ¶ ¶ 44, 46, Ashley M. v. DCFS, No. 2013-CH-20278, 2013 WL 5273715, (Ill. Cir. Ct. Sept. 3,
66 Id. at ¶ ¶ 39-40.
67 Black’s Law Dictionary defines void ab initio as “null from the beginning.” Void, BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY
(9th ed. 2009).
68 Judge’s Memorandum and Opinion at 4, Ashley M. v. DCFS, No. 13-CH-20278, 2014 WL 3535216 (Ill. Cir. Ct.
May 28, 2014).
69 Id. at 5.
70 Melissa L. Staas, Victorious settlement in Ashley M. v. DCFS secures class wide relief for Illinois residents
wrongfully accused for “environment injurious’ and ensures long-lasting reform, FAM. DEF. CTR. (Feb. 10, 2015),