Join us at our annual benefit on September 29 at the Chicago Cultural Center!
The Family Defense Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate justice for families in the child welfare system. We advocate for families who need our help the most: families threatened with losing their children to foster care.Read 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.
This spring, the Family Defense Center has been busy working on friend of the court (“amicus”) briefs in two important cases that are coming before the Illinois Supreme Court. Both cases were brought to the Center’s attention by active Illinois Parent Attorney Network attorneys Louis Milot and Susan O’Neal from Peoria, Illinois. In both cases, the Third District Appellate Courts ruled in favor of the parents, but the State appealed and the Illinois Supreme Court is reviewing the appellate court decisions. The cases involve parents whose rights to their children were either denied or severed. In re M.M., the mother was found “fit,” but denied custody on amorphous “best interest” grounds. In re M.I., a homeless and developmentally disabled father’s parental rights were terminated citing his supposed “lack of reasonable interests” and “lack of reasonable progress within nine months of adjudication”. Read more
The Center has just published a long-awaited guide for people who find themselves in the position of having to respond to a Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) Hotline call. The seven chapter guide, “Responding to Investigations Manual,” is the second major reference guide the Center has published. The first was the Center’s “Pro Se Manual for Self-Representation in Administrative Hearings.” Both manuals are available in the “Resources” section of the Center’s website and on Illinois Legal Aid Online. 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.