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Lombard family law attorneysThe Chicago Tribune recently published a story about child abuse that is so extreme, it is stomach-turning. A couple in southern California was found to have been keeping their thirteen children secluded in their home under horrific conditions. The siblings were found by police to be extremely malnourished and thin. Their skin was pale and looked as though the children had spent little time outside.

A “Private School”

The diminutive stature of the children led investigators to believe they were all under age 18 at first. Investigators were shocked to find that the children ranged in ages from 2 to 29. The religious parents of the 13 victims were holding the children prison in their own home. They called their home a private school and their children its pupils. The father was the principal of the school. Because no state agency regulates private schools in California, the state did not realize the atrocities that were happening inside the home.

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DCFS, investigation, Illinois family law attorneysOne of the most frightening things a parent can experience is learning that the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) is investigating them for child abuse or neglect. If you have received a notice from DCFS you need to understand the process and how to protect your family.

DCFS Investigations

DCFS investigations are not criminal investigations, but a case may be referred to law enforcement depending on the circumstances. An investigation starts when someone makes a report through the hotline. If the report is credible and meets all the agency guidelines, a formal investigation is opened.

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endangerment, illinois courts, Lombard family law attorneyIn 2003, headlines around the country told the tragic story of three small children who drowned while trapped inside a car after it rolled into a lake in central Illinois. The children’s mother and her boyfriend were subsequently charged with first-degree murder, when the story they told about being unable to free the children did not hold up to investigative scrutiny. The boyfriend was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, while the mother was convicted of child endangerment and served five years in prison. Now, the woman is back in a Cook County court, looking to regain custody of the three children she had since her release.

New Name, Same Concerns

Since her imprisonment, the beleaguered woman has changed her last name, a development that allegedly caused child welfare officials to be slow to realize that she had started a new family. When the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) came to the realization that she was the same person whose children had drowned, the agency began looking closely at the situation, eventually removing the new children last year. Prosecutors in Cook County are concerned that the woman’s current decision-making is similar to that of her past, and that she is likely to put her children at risk again.

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