Finding out that your family is subject to an investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is stressful enough. Facing the removal of your children from your home when you maintain that you have provided for their needs appropriately is often even worse.
Not only do you have to constantly feel the impact of their absence around your home, but you also have to worry about what might happen to them and how traumatized they will be when they finally come back home to you. Illinois claims to prioritize keeping families whole and to support reunification whenever possible.
What does it take to get your children back after they get removed from your care by the state?
An understanding of your rights
Many people end up in a situation where their children get removed from their homes in the first place because they decided to handle the DCFS investigation without professional help. Once removal is on the table or has occurred, you will likely be at a massive disadvantage trying to navigate this process without professional support.
You need to understand your rights as a parent and how to assert them. The exact process you need to follow will vary depending on the circumstances. In some cases, you may need to gather evidence and file paperwork with the courts to begin the reunification process. Other times, you may need to comply with certain requirements, like attending parenting classes or receiving professional counseling services before the state will place the children back in your home.
There is often a transitional time in which there will be visitation prior to full-time reunification. You don’t need more stress during this difficult time. When you don’t know what might happen to your children or how long it will be before they return to your home, the last thing you need is to add more stress to your daily life.
Having someone to stand as your advocate can be crucial. An attorney will be calm where you would be emotional, and they can succinctly and vehemently assert your rights when you might struggle to use the right terminology or cite the appropriate statutes to get what you deserve under the law.
Reaching out for the right help can increase your chances of success and potentially even speed up the timeline for returning your children to your home after their removal by DCFS.