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Judge grants order against Midlothian allowing nonprofit to house wards of the state with COVID-19

Aunt Martha’s sued the village May 12 alleging it wrongfully cited zoning laws that stopped them from developing the Children’s Quarantine Center.

A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order May 27, 2020, against the village of Midlothian to Aunt Martha’s, 14401 Pulaski Rd.
A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order May 27, 2020, against the village of Midlothian to Aunt Martha’s, 14401 Pulaski Rd.
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A federal judge has ruled that a south suburban child welfare organization can keep its doors open to wards of the state who have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, for the time being.

United States District Court Judge Thomas M. Durkin granted an emergency temporary restraining order Wednesday against the village of Midlothian allowing Aunt Martha’s, a nonprofit that owns a home in Midlothian for homeless youth, to continue operating, the agency said in a statement.

Aunt Martha’s sued the village May 12, alleging that it wrongfully cited zoning laws that stopped them from developing the Children’s Quarantine Center, despite the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services putting out a call to child welfare organizations for such help.

The temporary restraining order, filed May 18, stops Midlothian from shutting down the Children’s Quarantine Center, the agency said.

“We are pleased with today’s ruling granting our motion for a temporary restraining order, which will allow the continued operation of the Children’s Quarantine Center – a first of its kind program that serves as a last resort for DCFS youth who have been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 and have nowhere else to safely quarantine,” Ricardo Meza, a lawyer for Aunt Martha’s, said in a statement.

“The Village of Midlothian maintains its grave concern for the welfare of the children in this single family residence,” the village said in a statement provided Midlothian attorney Nick Valadez. “It’s noteworthy that the court ordered the plaintiff to limit the number of children in the home to 5 and required the plaintiff to provide information on each admission and discharge - something the plaintiff had refused to do. The Village continues to weigh its legal options to protect the public health and safety.”