Many failures in 8-year-old Gizzell Ford’s death, few fixes yet – Chicago Tribune

Posted: Friday, March 31, 2017

The discovery of 8-year-old Gizzell Ford’s tortured body in a trash-strewn Chicago apartment set off a firestorm of shock, disgust and demands for change.

Months after a judge ruled against the child’s mother and placed Gizzell in her grandmother’s home with her bedridden father, the straight-A student suffered horrific abuse while tied to a bedpost for days at a time, was denied food and water, and punished for trying to take a sip from the toilet.

Gizzell, though, did not simply fall through the cracks — a Chicago Tribune investigation following her slaying in 2013 found that multiple layers of trained professionals duty-bound to protect children had contact with the emaciated girl in the final months of her life but failed to act on warning signs.

Now, as the child’s grandmother, Helen Ford, awaits sentencing following her recent conviction for first-degree murder, promises of systemic reforms in Gizzell’s memory have fallen woefully short despite some incremental improvements in training and collaboration among child welfare agencies.


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