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.
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.
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.
As many of our readers have heard, through watching or reading the news, the Jodi Arias trial has our country buzzing with talk about one of the most brutal and controversial murders reported in 2013. According to news reports, Arias killed her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, by stabbing him in the abdomen and back 27 times, slitting his throat from ear to ear, and shooting him in the head. Throughout the course of the trial, psychology experts have been brought in to provide their expert opinion regarding the motives and reasoning behind Arias' bizarre actions. Among the many disturbing parts of this case include Arias' claim that she was a victim of domestic violence during her relationship with Alexander, and her murder was simply an act of self-defense. While the jury decides on the legitimacy of her claim, it is important for us to be aware of what qualifies as domestic violence, and how to leave an abusive relationship. The following describes the criteria used by Illinois law in determining domestic violence: