Medical Ethics Concerns in Child Abuse Investigations

The Family Defense Center released “Medical Ethics Concerns in Child Abuse Investigations” on March 14, 2014. This paper is the result of a two-year research and writing project conducted primarily by George Barry, with substantial revision, editing guidance, support and assistance from Diane Redleaf to help Mr. Barry’s research and commentary relevant to the experiences of Family Defense Center clients. We hope this report will be an impetus for a dialogue about changes that with improve the ethical treatment of children and families who find themselves as targets of physical child abuse investigations. Read the full report.

When Can Parents Let Children Be Alone?

On August 5, 2015, the Family Defense Center released a report that challenges decisions by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services that label loving parents as child neglectors under a vague “inadequate supervision” category of child neglect. This report was written by Caitlin Fuller and Diane Redleaf and is a research and policy analysis of “inadequate supervision” child neglect claims in the Illinois Child Welfare System with recommendations for policy reform. Read the full report.

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 concerns are unable to properly care for their children. Read the full report.