Please review the following guidelines before contacting us about your legal matter. We can only help individuals whose cases fall within these guidelines.
Our office will not screen new clients by email, and any request for legal services that is sent by email will not receive a response.
Our legal services are targeted to individuals who need representation in DCFS administrative hearings and investigations in Illinois, and our direct representation of individuals at hearings is limited to individuals whose cases are being heard in Cook County or collar counties. We help individuals appeal Illinois DCFS "indicated" findings. We rarely provide juvenile court representation and will not represent anyone in juvenile court if counsel has already been appointed. If you are calling about a case that is NOT in the state of Illinois, please be aware that we may be able to provide a referral but that we cannot advise or represent you.
We handle the following types of cases:
Ongoing Illinois DCFS Investigations for abuse or neglect
Safety Plan negotiations
Appeals of Indicated Findings and Administrative Review Actions
Clinical placement reviews and appeals
A limited number of Juvenile Court cases in which DCFS is attempting to take protective custody of a child if we have been counseling the client during an open investigation
Home day care licensing issues resulting from allegations of abuse or neglect
We do not generally handle the following types of cases:
Open Juvenile Court cases (this means that if your Juvenile Court case has already started when you first contact us, we most likely will not be able to offer you legal representation.)
Private custody cases
Mental health or mental health placement cases
Minors requiring authoritative intervention
Cases in Domestic Relations Court such as Orders of Protection
If you are seeking legal assistance with a case in one of these areas, please try CARPLS, Illinois Legal Aid Online or the Illinois State Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service.
We charge sliding-scale fees for legal services. Our fees are determined based on your income and the size of your family. Families whose incomes are below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for free or pro bono services and other clients may be eligible for partial fee reductions under our fee schedule. In order to have us determine the appropriate fees in each case, clients must complete the attached Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities and The Family Support Affidavit.
Even if your case does fall within our case acceptance guidelines, please be aware that we cannot give any individualized advice about your case without doing a screening by telephone, and no attorney-client relationship is created by your contact with our offices unless and until you are notified by our staff that your case has been accepted for representation by our legal staff. Fees for service following screening may be applied in accordance with our sliding scale fee schedule.
If you believe your case falls within the above guidelines and you are requesting legal assistance with a current legal matter, please call and leave a message with your name and telephone number on our Intake line at 1-312-251-9800 x18.
Please help us make justice for families a reality. Please make contribution to the Family Defense Center today:
Illinois Supreme Court decision in Julie Q. v. Dep't of Children and Family Services was highlighted in the March 25, 2013, issue of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: the the 6-0 decision declared DCFS's use of "Environment Injurious" rule exceeds the agency's legal authority.
Issue 14 (Winter 2013) of the Family Defender is now available: Click Here to Read the Full Version