E-Newsletter: February 2018

Our 2017 Annual Report is Out!

The Family Defense Center’s annual report is now available. The report outlines major achievements for 2017, including our legal services statistics for the year.

To view the full report and learn more about the Family Defense Center, click here.




The Family Defense Center Releases Report on Best Practices for Child Welfare Investigations Involving Parents with Mental Health Conditions

The Family Defense Center released a report that identifies best practices for conducting investigations where a parent or caregiver has a mental health condition or investigations where there is an alleged mental health condition. The report also makes recommendations for improved Illinois Department of Children and Family Services practices.

The report, which was developed in coordination with pro bono attorneys from one of the Center’s partner law firms, emphasizes the importance of assessing parents according to their individual strengths and weaknesses, and providing adequate accommodations for parents with mental health conditions, rather than relying on stereotypes that unfairly assume that parents with mental health conditions are unable to properly care for their children.

To view the full report, click here.

Illinois Parent Attorney Network Hosts Training on Appeals

On January 19, the Illinois Parent Attorney Network (IPAN) hosted a training on “Successfully Appealing Juvenile Court Abuse and Neglect Cases and Parental Terminations” at the Cook County Public Defender’s office. The training featured national experts Vivek Sankaran and Timothy Pinto of the University of Michigan Law School, and included discussions on how to structure effective legal arguments for child welfare appeals.

The IPAN is led by a steering committee of child welfare attorneys from across the state, and is facilitated by The Family Defense Center with a generous grant from the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts’ State Court Improvement Program.

To learn about how to become a member of IPAN, please email us.

Thank You, and Save the Date!

Over 100 people joined The Family Defense Center on January 12 at the CIBC Theatre to see the award-winning musical Hamilton. The Family Defense Center successfully raised $11,000 for the families that we serve. Thank you to our event sponsors: Meg McDonald, Kathleen Barry, and Kathleen McDonald, CLU, CFP.

Save the date for our annual Mother’s Day event, which is on May 10, at 4 p.m. at Baker McKenzie.