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Child Abuse and Neglect Archives

Guardian ad Litem, Attorney for the Child, & Child Representative: Understanding the roles of the attorneys involved in child abuse and neglect cases

When a parent has been charged with abuse or neglect of a child, the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) will become involved throughout the case. The main goal of DCFS, as well as the court, in deciding the best placement option for the child is to resolve the matter in the best interest of the child.

10 Considerations Made by DCFS in Evaluating Whether Children Should be Returned Home

Any parent who has dealt with the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) knows that the process can be quite unnerving. In some cases, DCFS may take a child into protective custody if investigative measures reveal evidence of child abuse or neglect. In the event that DCFS takes custody of an abused or neglected minor, the Department will consider the best interests, health and safety of the child in determining the next course of action as it relates to placement of the child.

How Young is Too Young for Marriage? Minimum Age of 16 in United States

Earlier this month reports that an 8-year-old Yemen girl died from internal injuries she suffered on her wedding night sparked international outrage. Local officials are denying the story is true, calling it all rumors. Officials even report that the girl's father has brought her to the police station as proof the reported incident never happened.

Children's Safe Harbor: A valuable visitation option for victims of domestic abuse

Exchanging children between parents can be one of the most stressful parts of co-parenting for numerous reasons. Many times victims of domestic abuse fear coming into contact with their ex as they exchange children for visitation purposes. Fortunately, places such as Children's Safe Harbor, in Rockford, IL exist to provide a neutral place for families to use when exchanging children for parenting time or visitation. The mission of Children's Safe Harbor "is to help facilitate a child's need and right to share a relationship with both of his/her parents."

Types of DCFS court hearings: what to expect in juvenile court

The DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) is a governmental organization that conducts investigations of child abuse and/or neglect cases. Several states, including Illinois, have a DCFS agency. They have been involved in many high profile cases of alleged child abuse such as the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, as well as in the lives of hundreds of people we come into contact with every day. For someone who has just been investigated by DCFS, he may want to prepare himself for the many types of hearings a typical DCFS case will involve. The following provide a brief description of the several types of hearings to be expected following the initial investigation.

Dealing with DCFS: What to expect at a shelter care hearing

If you have been reported to DCFS for the abuse or neglect of your child, you will most likely be facing a lengthy series of court hearings. The very first hearing you will be required to attend, after a DCFS investigator has determined who will be granted temporary protective custody, is called a shelter care hearing. A shelter care hearing is an emergency hearing at which a judge will determine whether allowing the child to remain at home will present a danger to the child, and whether or not DCFS should take protective custody for an extended amount of time. The following describe what you should expect at a shelter care hearing.

Removal: issues to consider in a divorce when you want to move out of state with your children

If you are divorced, and are considering moving to another state with your children, think twice. Illinois law prohibits the removal of children to another state without court permission. As the courts make their determination, the best interest of the child will always be the main factor. However, best interest is based on several other factors. Therefore, if the custodial parent wishes to leave the state and bring the child, he or she is subject to the decision of a judge on the matter. Failure to comply with Illinois code (750 ILCS 5/609) (from Ch. 40, par. 609) may result in the forfeiting of custodial rights. For further clarification on what is considered by the courts as they make their determination on removal proceedings, please see the following.

Appealing Indicated Reports for DCFS: 3 Recommendations

Being indicated by DCFS can be one of the most challenging times in one's life. Fortunately, those being investigated are entitled to their own rights. Upon being indicated for a child abuse or neglect finding, the standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence, meaning that the State is responsible for providing necessary evidence to prove the finding. Unfortunately, DCFS investigations are commonly wrongly indicated. Once indicated, the alleged perpetrator's name will be in the DCFS State Central Register for a varying amount of time, depending on the seriousness of the allegations. If you have been indicated by DCFS for child abuse or neglect, and believe your case to be unfounded (meaning the State has not provided sufficient evidence to support the finding) you have the right to challenge or appeal the indicated finding. The following list provides a few necessary measures one should take in order to appeal an indicated report.

DCFS and safety plans - how to avoid foster care and ensure your children stay in your home

Any situation in which DCFS is involved can be absolutely frightening for the family being investigated. The uncertainty of the future of one's child can be one the most stressful times in one's life. If your family is facing child abuse or neglect allegations, it is important to be advised on how you should handle an investigation by DCFS. Once a case enters the DCFS system, a case worker will launch an investigation often involving a "safety plan." A safety plan, part of Illinois' CERAC (Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol), is a temporary living arrangement designed to ensure absolute protection for a child during the investigation of abuse or neglect in a household. This arrangement typically requires the temporary separation of parent and child, which can be a nightmare for parents. The controversy surrounding safety plans lies in the fact that DCFS often will enforce a safety plan without a significant amount of evidence for abuse or neglect. Nevertheless, if urged to sign a safety plan, it is in the best interest of the parent to cooperate. The following provide a few reasons why cooperation is of utmost importance.

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