We focus attention on the role poverty, prejudice, and perception play in decisions made by child welfare authorities to separate families.
Our Mission The Family Defense Center was founded in 2005 with the mission of advocating justice for families in the child welfare system. Now, with its expert staff of attorneys and more than 150 pro bono attorneys from Chicago lawRead more
The Family Defense Center has brought a number of important cases which have established invaluable precedents and protections for children and families in the child welfare system.
We represent families of all kinds who have one thing in common: they deserve fair treatment and due process in the child welfare system.
Resources for individuals and professionals include manuals and articles on various facets of the Department of Children and Family Services.
Meet Our Director of Legal Services
The Family Defense Center is delighted to announce Sara Gilloon, formerly a staff attorney with the Center, as its new Director of Legal Services, starting November 1, 2017. Read more…
Sara Block Receives Outstanding Partnership Award
The Family Defense Center’s Domestic Violence Project Attorney Sara Block was honored with an Outstanding Partnership Award at Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network (CMBWN)’s “Together We Lead” Partnership Breakfast on October 25. Read more…
Young Professionals Board Hosts Panel at UChicago
On Thursday, October 26, the Young Professionals Boards of The Family Defense Center and LAF joined forces to present “The Intersection of Domestic Violence, Families, and the Law in Chicago.” Read more…
HAMILTON Tickets On Sale on November 2
For the first time ever, The Family Defense Center has partnered with Broadway in Chicago to offer a limited number of tickets to HAMILTON at the beautiful CIBC Theatre the evening of Friday, January 12, 2018. Purchase tickets tomorrow or become a sponsor today!
Save the Date for #GivingTuesday
Mark your calendars – Giving Tuesday is November 28! The Family Defense Center will be joining over 30,000 organizations in a global day of giving. GivingTuesday kicks off our holiday fundraising campaign. Read more…
Updates on Key Litigation
The Family Defense Center utilizes impact litigation, such as civil rights and class action lawsuits, in order to advocate justice for clients and pursue systemic reforms in child welfare law and policy in Illinois. Read more…
Don’t Miss This Year’s Benefit!
The Family Defense Center is delighted to announce its annual benefit, Celebrating Justice for Families, which will honor individuals and organizations that have demonstrated their dedication to justice for families in the child welfare system. This year’s event will take place on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at Maggiano’s Banquet Hall, and will feature an exclusive VIP reception before the program for those who purchase a VIP ticket. Purchase tickets or become a sponsor today!
Thank you Summer Staff; Welcome Connie
Over the summer, The Family Defense Center hosted one summer law clerk, Ryan Shellady, and one Public Interest Law Initiative fellow, Sarah Craig, as well as three interns, Simone Wallk, Amelia Urwin, and Andrea Mireles.
This summer, the Center also said goodbye to Samantha Tarlton, who returned to her home state of Indiana. Sam’s work as Development and Communications Associate was crucial to the organization’s continued health and success. We wish her all the best in her next endeavor! Finally, we are thrilled to welcome Connie Prater as our new Development and Communications Manager. Read more…
What our clients say:
Thank you for all your help in the DCFS case involving my daughter. We had no idea what was involved, what the process was, the implications of the potential case on my daughter's career and the need for a Dupuy letter and, finally, how to find out why and how to follow-up to get a final letter from DCFS showing the case was "unfounded."
I have had a successful nursing career for almost eight years and love caring for people but most of all love caring for my daughter and to have DCFS "called on us" when we did nothing wrong was such a shattering life experience. Calling your office was the best thing we could have done! You gave us support and guidance in a time when it was hard to find our way. We never knew of the problems with the system until we were involved personally with it.
So many times, in my opinion, the law is twisted around to prosecute victimless crimes and people that shouldn't be imprisoned, or defends those who should. Your legal talents have righted a wrong, and relieved so much anxiety for my family.
Thank you so much for everything you did for our family, your dedication to help families like us is simply exceptional and outstanding. We forever will be grateful, because we know without you this would of taken a different route, much harder and more painful.