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Cook County Sheriff slams Wisconsin officials for response to runaway foster child

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart blasted Wisconsin child welfare authorities for refusing to pick up a runaway foster child arrested last week in Chicago.

In an angry letter to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Dart said it was “shocking and disgraceful” that two child welfare agencies refused to pick up a runaway foster child who had been arrested in Chicago.

The 17-year-old girl had been arrested Thursday night on the West Side, when she and a 28-year-old man were pulled over, and police found heroin and marijuana in the car.

When Dart’s office determined the girl had run away from a foster home in Dane County, Wisconsin, they tried to get help returning her, but her foster mother, the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, and the Dane County Department of Human Services all refused to come get her.

After that, the sheriff’s office was able to place her in an emergency placement shelter with help from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, but she ran away again.

The girl has since been found and placed in a new foster home in Wisconsin.

A spokesman for Walker’s office said the Department of Children and Families determined Dane County authorities did nothing wrong.

Wisconsin officials said they appreciate Dart’s passion, but indicated protocols indicated the sheriff should have placed the girl with a local child welfare agency until officials in both states could arrange details for her safe return.

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