Family Defense Center Prepares for 2015 Legislative Session

Family Defense Center Prepares for 2015 Legislative Session

Two major bill proposals limit family separations under safety plans and reduce harm from unfair abuse or neglect labels.

In the 2014 legislative session, the Family Defense Center achieved four major successes:  we secured passage of three pieces of legislation and we defeated an effort of the Cook County State’s Attorney that would have legislatively overturned our appellate victory in the Yohan.  K case (which held that a constellation of injuries does not by itself constitute abuse – see Family Defender Issue 15). The first of the affirmative bills we drafted requires safety plans to be in writing and signed, stating the responsibilities of the parties. The second allows juvenile court to appoint parents to be the educational advocates for their children even if DCFS has temporary custody. The third creates a task force to make recommendations for restoration of the differential response program, which deflects cases from investigations and into services, but was abruptly ended in 2012 due to budget cuts.

The Center is now gearing up for an ambitious 2015 session. The Family Defense Center plans to work with the legislature this year to secure passage of two proposals: the Child Abuse Registry Accuracy and Fairness Act of 2015 (CARAF) and the Family Protection Act of 2015 (FPA). Each bill’s provisions, if passed and implemented, could substantially improve the child welfare system for parents and families across Illinois.

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Updates from the 2014 Legislative Session

June 30, 2014. The Family Defense Center has been busy this legislative session! We successfully passed two pieces of legislation, initiated a DCFS working group, and prevented a bill from passing that could have been extremely damaging for Illinois families. In our spare time, we supported a number of other bills and tracked any other legislation that may help, or harm, our clients.

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Attorneys Help Parents Keep Families Intact Amid Misplaced Child Abuse Allegations

The work of an FDC pro bono team at Sidley Austin LLP is highlighted in this article published in the Winter 2013 issue of the American Bar Association’s Litigation magazine:

Attorneys Help Parents Keep Families Intact Amid Misplaced Child Abuse Allegations

Family Defender Issue 12: Winter 2012

Click here to read issue #12 in PDF (Winter 2012)

In this issue:

Center Wins Three Important Appellate Victories Advancing Family Rights!

Family Defense Briefs, page 2

Message from the Executive Director, page 18


Hernandez v. Foster: A Three-Pronged Victory, page 1

In Closely Watched Case, Appellate Court Declares ‘Environment Injurious’ Ground Invalid, page 3

Improper Termination of Parental Rights – And Why the Illinois Supreme Court Disapproves, page 5

The Hidden Harms of Recent Legislation Responses to the Penn State Scandal, page 10

Exceptions That Do Not Apply: Why DCFS Cannot Shirk on Causation, page 14

Parents’ Toolkit: What Can A Parent Do If DCFS Demands a Safety Plan?, page 15

Can You Believe This?, page 16

Parents sue DCFS over removal of toddler from family

By Ofelia Casillas | Chicago Tribune reporter

October 3, 2008

A toddler’s parents are suing state child-welfare investigators and police officers who took their daughter and then forced them to have only monitored contact with her for days during a child-abuse investigation, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

The 21-page suit seeking at least $50,000 in compensation was filed Wednesday by lawyers for the Family Defense Center, a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago that represents parents against the child welfare system.

The lawsuit charges that authorities “tore a healthy and happy toddler from her innocent parents.” Then, it alleges, child welfare investigators “held the toddler hostage until the parents agreed to forfeit their constitutional rights to live without unwarranted restrictions.”

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