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.
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.
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.”