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Represent Wrongly-Accused Family Members and Caregivers in DCFS Administrative Hearings

DCFS makes administrative abuse and/or neglect guilt determinations that are appealable to a neutral hearing officer in an evidentiary hearing. Representation in these cases is a core area of Ascend Justice's work and the focus of its pro bono program.

Volunteer attorneys represent clients in DCFS administrative appeal hearings. Cases are carefully screened for merit and legal defenses. The volunteer develops the trial strategy, interviews the client, develops the witness list, reviews some limited discovery, drafts and argues motions, and prepares and conducts a full hearing. The hearing includes opening and closing statements as well as direct and cross examinations. It can also involve medical or other expert testimony.

Why work with Ascend Justice

Ascend Justice provides holistic legal services to survivors of domestic violence and families impacted by the child welfare system.

Type of engagement

Litigation

Time commitment

Completion of the required training (90 to 120 min.), then 25–50 hours over 3–4 months.

Training and support

Ascend Justice provides annual formal training programs (90–120 min.), detailed manuals with sample pleadings, and ongoing support for volunteers.

  • Training is provided and required
  • CLE credit for training

Acquired skills

Trial strategy, client/witness interviewing, drafting pleadings, trial skills

Skills and resources required

All attorneys are competent to handle this matter after the training provided. Attorneys with subject matter experience, litigation experience, and/or law firm support preferred.

Location

Chicago, IL

Represent Wrongly-Accused Family Members and Caregivers in DCFS Administrative Hearings

DCFS makes administrative abuse and/or neglect guilt determinations that are appealable to a neutral hearing officer in an evidentiary hearing. Representation in these cases is a core area of Ascend Justice's work and the focus of its pro bono program.

Volunteer attorneys represent clients in DCFS administrative appeal hearings. Cases are carefully screened for merit and legal defenses. The volunteer develops the trial strategy, interviews the client, develops the witness list, reviews some limited discovery, drafts and argues motions, and prepares and conducts a full hearing. The hearing includes opening and closing statements as well as direct and cross examinations. It can also involve medical or other expert testimony.

Why work with Ascend Justice

Ascend Justice provides holistic legal services to survivors of domestic violence and families impacted by the child welfare system.

Type of engagement

Litigation

Time commitment

Completion of the required training (90 to 120 min.), then 25–50 hours over 3–4 months.

Training and support

Ascend Justice provides annual formal training programs (90–120 min.), detailed manuals with sample pleadings, and ongoing support for volunteers.

  • Training is provided and required
  • CLE credit for training

Acquired skills

Trial strategy, client/witness interviewing, drafting pleadings, trial skills

Skills and resources required

All attorneys are competent to handle this matter after the training provided. Attorneys with subject matter experience, litigation experience, and/or law firm support preferred.

Location

Chicago, IL