Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center Annual Symposium | A Practitioner's Guide to Navigating Child Protective Services in Illinois

This year's family law symposium will center on gaining a deeper understanding of child protective services within Illinois with respect to the child themselves as well as representing either parent in these cases. This interdisciplinary event will address:

  • The thought process and understanding children undergo when child protective services becomes involved
  • Child development and the impact of the legal system on a child’s development
  • What happens when the Department of Child & Family Services (DCFS) receives child abuse allegations and how an investigation is handled
  • Practical tools to help parties address child abuse allegations and work to ensure the child is safe
  • What constitutes serious endangerment to a child
  • When and how parenting time should be restricted and how does that occur when protective services is involved
  • What happens in court when child abuse allegations are made and investigations are underway
  • Possible findings by DCFS and what those mean
  • How to properly file and effectively litigate an administrative appeal
  • How a child successfully leave protective services

The symposium will be presented online and in person, and registration must be completed no later than Sunday, October 8th.


10:30am-11:00am | Keynote Speaker: A Firsthand Overview of Child Protective Services

Learn what children experience when child protective services become involved with a family and hear firsthand how the process impacts children's lives.

  • Professor Cary Martin Shelby, IIT Chicago Kent College of Law

11:00am-11:45am | Child Development and the Court System: Recognizing Law as a Developmental Agent

This discussion will examine the topic of child development with respect to therapeutic jurisprudence and developmental jurisprudence, which views the law as a special rearer of children.

  • Professor Emily Buss, University of Chicago Law School

12:00pm-1:00pm | Child Abuse Allegations are Made, Now What Happens to the Child?

Child abuse allegations against a parent have lasting ramifications on a parent-child relationship. This panel will provide insight and practical tools to help parties address these serious allegations with respect to parenting time of the child as well as initial court proceedings to protect the child and DCFS' involvement in the case.

  • Hon. Robert Balanoff, Presiding Judge of the Cook County Juvenile Court, Child Protection Division
  • William Gomez, Department of Child & Family Services
  • Rachel Koch, Cook County Office of the Public Defender, Child Protection Division
  • Caidi Mammas Vanderporten, Mammas Goldberg Vanderporten
  • Erin Wilson (Moderator), The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC

1:00pm-2:00pm | Addressing DCFS' Investigations & Results

Following child abuse allegations, there is an investigatory period that is intensive and can be lengthy. This panel will discuss what takes place during the investigation from the attorney's perspective as well as the court’s perspective, how to work with your clients during this period, what happens to the child during this time, and how to either accept or contest an indicative finding through an administrative appeal.

  • Hon. Levander Smith Jr., Cook County Juvenile Court, Child Protection Division
  • Alyease Jones, Law Office of Alyease Jones
  • Lori G. Levin, Attorney at Law
  • Helena Trachtenberg (Moderator), Cooper Trachtenberg Law Group, LLC

2:00pm-3:00pm | A Child's Life After a DCFS Finding: Adoption, Foster Care, & Guardianship

This panel will address the options for a child leaving protective services in Illinois, which option is right under certain circumstances, what to look out for when working with clients seeking one of these options, and the right questions to ask your client.

  • Cailee Alderman, Kogut & Wilson
  • Jay Dahlin, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP
  • Ashley Reed, Monahan Law Group, LLC
  • Nicole Onorato (Moderator), Beattie | Onorato


Up to 4.25 general Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits pending. DePaul University College of Law is an accredited CLE Provider.

CLE credit is extended to Illinois attorneys only. Attorneys who need CLE from other states are welcome to apply to their jurisdictions on their own. Extension of CLE credit is subject to each states approval.

In-person attendance will be taken October 10th and on-line attendance will be taken through an online login system. Attendees who do not attend the full conference will receive credit only for the parts they attend.


Thank you to OurFamilyWizard for sponsoring the breakfast and to the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center for providing lunch!


Register here!

Tuesday, October 10 at 10:00am to 3:00pm

DePaul Center (DPC)
1 E Jackson Blvd

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