Typically, many parties become involved in a child abuse and/or neglect case, which can sometimes make it difficult for parents of the child to figure out who’s who and what their roles are. Typically the case will involve multiple individuals advocating for the child’s best interests:
The States attorney represents the Department of Human Services and is responsible for initiating an abuse and neglect case.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Representative
A DCFS family services specialist will work with parents and caregivers to support their efforts to preserve the family connections. They will provide resources needed to promote a safe and nurturing environment for the children and provide updates and make recommendations to the court regarding services and placement.
Parents’ Lawyer in a Child Abuse & Neglect Case
An abuse and neglect case may result in the termination of parental rights, therefore it important for the parents to have a lawyer. It may be that the best placement for the child is with one or both parents and it is recommended to have an experienced attorney to advocate on your behalf.
Attorney to the Child
The court will appoint an attorney who will communicate with the child on an attorney-client basis to represent the child’s wishes.
Guardian Ad Litem
A Guardian Ad Litem may be appointed by the court to discover the truth about the child’s living environment. As the eyes and ears of the court, a GAL will use his or her extensive investigative powers in order to make a recommendation to the court regarding placement.
Sometimes a child representative will be appointed to represent the child’s best’s interests. A child representative, or CR, functions like a hybrid between a GAL and an attorney to the child. Whereas a child’s attorney’s job is to represent the child’s wishes, and a GAL’s job is to make recommendations to the court regarding the best interests of the child, a child representative’s role is to advocate for the child’s best interests whether or not that is in conflict with the child’s wishes.
Contact Our Child Abuse and Neglect Family Law Attorneys for Help
A court-appointed child’s representative can articulate the interests of your child to the court. Michael Strauss and Gary Schlesinger accept court appointments as children’s rights lawyers. If you have questions regarding child abuse and/or neglect in court proceedings, contact the Lake county Illinois child’s representative family law offices of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for help at 847-680-4970.