GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Northern Illinois Academy in Aurora Illinois is in the process of a shutdown after a damaging report released in May of this year shows serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse. An 87-bed residential treatment facility for individuals from ages 6-21, who are diagnosed with mental illness or disabilities, NIA has been under investigation since 2019.
The report completed by independent agency Equip for Equality, at the request of The Department of Children and Family Services in Illinois, details specific situations and circumstances involving residents and their families who came forward with various claims. The full report can be viewed at this link.
Stacey Aschemann is the Vice President of Equip for Equality. “The state did contract with us to conduct an independent review of the facility,” said Aschemann. Illinois was looking for a comprehensive report after a number of people filed complaints against NIA. The report did indicate some areas of improvement, but those did not outweigh the negative findings. “As you can read throughout the report, we had different recommendations on whether to continue to license the facility or other licenses,” said Aschemann. The agency does not have the power to shut down any facilities based on report findings.
In an email to WFRV-TV’s sister station in Illinois WCIA-TV, Green Bay resident Marilyn Matthews said, “My son attended Northern Illinois Academy from October 26, 2020, and our county worker pulled him out on May 21, 2021.” Matthew’s son Isaiah is 17-years-old, who “functions like a 9 or 10-year-old. Matthews went on to say she received calls from her son in November of 2020 that were concerning in nature. It is unclear at this time what those concerns were.
If you or someone you know suspects abuse of any kind, you can contact the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families to make a report. There is a web page set up, to view it click here. We contacted the Department of Education of Illinois, who said they did not have anyone available for an interview with WFRV-TV.