We focus attention on the role poverty, prejudice, and perception play in decisions made by child welfare authorities to separate families.
The Family Defense Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate justice for families in the child welfare system. We advocate for families who need our help the most: families threatened with losing their children to foster care.Read more
The Family Defense Center has brought a number of important cases which have established invaluable precedents and protections for children and families in the child welfare system.
We represent families of all kinds who have one thing in common: they deserve fair treatment and due process in the child welfare system.
Resources for individuals and professionals include manuals and articles on various facets of the Department of Children and Family Services.
Family Defense Center stands up for caring parents; recommends major policy revisions
CHICAGO, August 5, 2015 – The Family Defense Center today released a report that challenges decisions by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services that label loving parents as child neglectors under a vague “inadequate supervision” category of child neglect.
The Family Defense Center is currently involved in litigation with DCFS in a case involving a Chicago mother who DCFS labeled a child neglector for allowing her children, ages 11, 9 and 5, to play in a park next to her house for about 30 to 40 minutes, while she checked on them regularly from a window.
On October 7, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. we will gather under the beautiful Tiffany Dome at the Chicago Cultural Center to honor the many advocates who have played an integral role in the Family Defense Center’s 10 years of success.
The co-chairs for the event are: Brigitte Schmidt Bell, Patricia Jones Blessman, Louis Fogel, Denise Lazar, Dorothy Roberts, and Anita Weinberg. Our 10th Anniversary Honorees are: Mary Bird, Mary Broderick, Briggitte Carlson, Elissa Efroymson, Laurene Heybach, Mimi Laver, Michael O’Connor, Deborah Pergament, Suzanne Sellers, and Helene Snyder. Our 2015 Family Defender is founder and Executive Director Diane Redleaf.
What our clients say:
Thank you for all your help in the DCFS case involving my daughter. We had no idea what was involved, what the process was, the implications of the potential case on my daughter's career and the need for a Dupuy letter and, finally, how to find out why and how to follow-up to get a final letter from DCFS showing the case was "unfounded."
I have had a successful nursing career for almost eight years and love caring for people but most of all love caring for my daughter and to have DCFS "called on us" when we did nothing wrong was such a shattering life experience. Calling your office was the best thing we could have done! You gave us support and guidance in a time when it was hard to find our way. We never knew of the problems with the system until we were involved personally with it.
So many times, in my opinion, the law is twisted around to prosecute victimless crimes and people that shouldn't be imprisoned, or defends those who should. Your legal talents have righted a wrong, and relieved so much anxiety for my family.
Thank you so much for everything you did for our family, your dedication to help families like us is simply exceptional and outstanding. We forever will be grateful, because we know without you this would of taken a different route, much harder and more painful.