Calcutta, Illinois

Nineteen children living in squalor are the epicenter of America's most recent landscape of despair

The Chicago police swept into 219 North Keystone Avenue last Tuesday looking for drugs, and found children instead. There were 19 in all. Lying two deep on a pair of dirty mattresses. Or sprawled on the apartment's cold floor amid food scraps, cigarette butts and human excrement. Most were in dirty diapers or underwear; one boy, subsequently found to have cerebral palsy, wore bruises, belt marks and cigarette burns on his body. Two of the smallest children, reads the police report, were awake, sharing a neck bone with a dog. As the police removed the children from the residence, one pleaded...

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