An online brochure for the Illinois Department of Human Services promotes the hotline set up to protect disabled adults. At the bottom in big, bold letters it states: "Remember, only with your help can abuse and neglect be prevented."
But even when the state gets the call, it may not be enough.
Friends are worried about Leann Singleton, who lives in her father's house in East Alton, and have made at least seven calls to the hotline over the past six years. The police have responded to at least 96 emergency 911 calls during that same period involving a variety of mayhem. Among other things, they have found registered sex offenders at the house in the same room with Leann, who is deaf, blind and unable to communicate.
Gov. Pat Quinn recently shook up the Inspector General's office because of its failure to use its broad power to investigate cases. Yet in this case at least, nothing seems to have changed. When the East Alton police chief recently tried to get a state Human Services investigator to go with the police to check on Leann's welfare after yet another hotline call, the chief said the state investigator told them he was too busy to do so.
A state spokesman said the majority of calls about Leann over the years have been unfounded or unsubstantiated. Maybe there's nothing to find. But when the state does such a poor job of looking, how can the public know for sure?