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Lombard, IL child abuse attorney

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) reports that 125,000 children are victims of abuse or neglect in the state of Illinois on an annual basis, and that one in five children will become a victim of abuse before they reach 18 years of age. In the midst of contentious divorce proceedings, or even long after a divorce has been finalized, it is not uncommon for DCFS cases to arise against one or both parents. Whether your former spouse, a neighbor, an acquaintance, or another family member makes a claim against you as a parent, any child abuse or neglect accusation can be life-altering and have far-reaching negative consequences on the entire family.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family 

Allegations of the mistreatment of your child are a grave matter, as they not only affect the relationship you share but also your child’s current and future mental health. The threat of such detrimental effects on your family leaves you with no choice but to address the allegations head-on. If you believe you are facing embellished or fabricated claims about your parenting, consider the following actions to better protect your family:

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DuPage County DCFS attorneyChild abuse and neglect is a sensitive topic that can often be misunderstood. These situations go much deeper than just physical abuse or harm done by neglectful parents. There are a variety of caretakers that can be involved in child neglect or abuse cases, including a parent or romantic partner, an immediate relative, someone living at home, a caretaker, educators, coaches, or anyone else who is responsible for the child’s welfare. According to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), over 70 percent of child abuse goes unreported, and on average, abused or neglected children voice their situation to seven adults before an official report is made.

What Is Considered Neglect or Abuse?

Child neglect and abuse are two different forms of mistreatment. Child neglect is the failure of a parent to meet minimal parenting standards. This includes providing proper supervision, medical care, food, clothing, shelter, and other basic needs. Child abuse occurs when a child is mistreated directly, and it can be broken down into three different categories: physical, sexual, or mental (emotional or psychological) abuse. Often, children who live in abusive households experience multiple forms of abuse. 

An Obligation to Report

Reporting child abuse is a stressful societal obligation that is required of anyone who suspects that it is occurring. Many feel as if a child’s home life is none of their business; however, it is important to the child’s life and safety to have an advocate. Those who suspect that a child may be enduring neglect or abuse should contact DCFS immediately. 

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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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Lombard adoption lawyersThe Chicago Tribune reports that there are currently more than 17,000 children in Illinois who are in foster care, with over 6,000 of them being cared for by non-relatives. In addition, there are approximately 1,000 children available for permanent adoption in the state on any given day. With so many children in need of loving homes, state officials are always looking for more couples and families who are willing to provide stability and care.

“We just don’t have enough people who have stepped forward,” said Susan McConnell, founder of a regional nonprofit group that advocates for adoption and foster care. Her group, Let It Be Us, has joined with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to promote participation in the state’s adoption and foster care programs among gay and lesbian parents. “We think that in the (LBGT) community,” McConnell continued, “there are people who would be good parents.

Increased Rates of Participation

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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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child abuse, child neglect, DCFS, DCFS investigation, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, child safetyThe prospect of having to undergo a DCFS child abuse or neglect investigation is a horrifying thought to every loving parent out there. Unfortunately, false accusations do occur. If you find yourself facing the prospect of an abuse or neglect investigation, here is what you need to know.

According to the DCFS fact sheet, an investigation is launched 24 hours from the time a report is received. If the allegation is one of neglect or inadequate shelter, an investigative specialist will be dispatched to view the child’s living space. Initially, the specialist’s concern will be for the immediate safety of the child. The child in question and other children in the household will be interviewed along with other household members, extended family members, and other professionals, depending on the allegation. It’s always best to be completely honest and provide complete information to the specialist. In cases where the allegation is of serious physical or sexual abuse, the state law requires the investigative specialist to notify both the local police and the State’s Attorney. In these cases, the police may choose to conduct a joint investigation, or the police may conduct their own investigation. The police may also be contacted if the investigative specialist feels that family members or other concerned individuals are refusing to cooperate with their investigation. The state has a maximum of 60 days to complete their investigation, though most are completed in 30 days. In certain cases, a 60 day extension may be requested, particularly when the state is waiting on medical or police reports. You will be notified in writing of DCFS’ final findings, and the investigative specialist may also contact you. If the allegations are unfounded, the DCFS State Central Register will maintain the information pertaining to the investigation for one to three years. Facing an abuse or neglect allegation can be a frightening experience. Having a qualified family attorney at your side can help. Contact the experienced Lombard, Illinois family attorneys at A. Traub & Associates today for a consultation on your case. We have years of experience defending clients against unfounded abuse and neglect investigations can help you prove your innocence.
Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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