Family Defense

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Victim of domestic violence coerced by DCFS to separate from her toddler twins Print E-mail

"It is hard to imagine a more dysfunctional child welfare system than the one described in a federal lawsuit filed last week against the Illinois Department of Children Family Services, the Children’s Home + Aid, and 10 child welfare workers.

Rochelle Vermeulen, 29, of Romeoville and the mother of 15-month old twins, is claiming workers at both agencies used coercion, intimidation, and threats to separate her from her toddlers despite her claims of being a domestic violence victim."

Read the entire story by Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-times online here.

On Tuesday, October 14, 2015 the Family Defense Center held a press conference regarding a recently-filed federal lawsuit on behalf of a mother of fifteen-month-old twins who had been coerced by DCFS to separate from her children despite her own status as a victim of domestic violence. The mother, her attorneys Diane Redleaf and Sara Gilloon, and advocates on behalf of victims of domestic violence gathered at the 70 E. Lake Street Conference Room to issue statements regarding the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services' illegal and unjust victimization of this mother.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and a resident of Illinois, please click here to find resources in your county.

DCFS's Real Crime? Breaking Up Families Print E-mail

Read Executive Director Diane Redleaf's opinion piece published in the Chicago Sun-Times on November 24, 2013 discussing how improved policies and practices within the Department of Children and Family Services would allow investigators to focus precious resources on children who are truly at risk of abuse or neglect while still allowing suitable parents to raise their own children without undue intervention from the child welfare system.

Click here to read the full article pdf button

Executive Director Diane Redleaf Receives KLEO Angel Award Print E-mail

In recognition of her lifelong advocacy to protect families and children from injustice at the hands of the child welfare system, Diane Redleaf, Executive Director of the Family Defense Center, was honored with an Angel Award at the K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center Benefit Gala, held in Chicago on October 27, 2013. Click here to read a full profile of Diane's work and the award from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin published on November 4, 2013 pdf button


FDC Board Members, staff, and family gather to celebrate Diane Redleaf's Angel Award. Pictured from left to right: Deborah Pergament, Diana Hansen, Angela Inzano, Ruth Bell Mejias, Diane Redleaf, Anatoly Libgober, Patricia Jones Blessman

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Please help us make justice for families a reality. Please make contribution to the Family Defense Center today:

The Family Defense Center is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Notice to all persons located in the state of Illinois who were:

A. Investigated or indicated for neglect under Allegation 60 from July 13, 2012 through December 31, 2013; 


B. Were indicated for neglect under Allegation 60 from May 31, 2014 through June 11, 2014. 

A class action lawsuit, entitled Ashley M., et al. v. Ill. Dep’t of Children & Family Servs., et al., No. 2013 CH 20278, is now pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division, Cook County, Illinois.

Please click here to read the full notice of this proposed settlement and fairness hearing.


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