Help Anntionetta Get Justice for Rica Jae

In January of 2019, eight-year-old Rica Jae was killed by her father's girlfriend Cynthia Clay, a woman that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IL DCFS) repeatedly deemed a safe and adequate caretaker. Rica was in Cynthia's custody because Rica's mother, Anntionetta Rountree was incarcerated. Ann did the best that she could to advocate for Rica from inside, but IL DCFS caseworkers ignored her or disputed her claims, at one point even alleging that she coerced Rica into claiming that she was being abused, despite visible evidence including bruises, lacerations, and cigarette burns.

IL DCFS has not experienced any consequences for the negligence that resulted in Rica Jae's murder. Even in situations that do not result in death, IL DCFS is a punitive agency. IL DCFS acts as an extension of the police state , punishing Black and Brown families, especially low-income Black mothers  by forcing families to comply with unrealistic and impossible service plans, often tolerated by families who fear that DCFS will act on their threats to remove their children.

IL DCFS – and Child Protective Services more broadly – often have more power than the police . They can enter homes without warrants, look through your medicine cabinets, and strip search your kids without warning. When children are removed for 15 out of 22 months, states can move to terminate a parent's rights. Amongst attorneys who work with the system, termination of parental rights is known as "the civil death penalty:" it is the most serious and final consequence that the civil legal system can impose. The system sets families up to fail.

Ann Rountree feels called to advocate for Rica Jae and families involved with Child Protective Services across the U.S. In Ann's own words, "Rica Jae has served her purpose on this Earth. Now, it's time for me to serve mine and pursue justice for her and other kids just like her." Starting in July of 2020, Ann Rountree intends to quit her job as a bookkeeper and pursue justice for Rica full-time. She is now actively seeking employment as a parent advocate. During this transition, Ann needs financial support to fund her self-advocacy and to cover rent, food, and other basic necessities for her and her older son Charles, who was thankfully returned to her care from foster care in May of 2020.

Your support will allow Ann to pursue justice for Rica Jae, advocate for parents and children involved in the system, and advance the movement against the racist and punitive  Child Protective Services.

  • Angie Goen 
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $70 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $70 
    • 12 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 12 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Emma Williams 
Seattle, WA
Anntionetta Simmons 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more