Anderson Attorneys & Advisors

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DuPage County child abuse and neglect attorney

Illinois was one of the first states to establish child protection laws, mandating the reporting of child abuse and neglect, and it created one of the country’s first child abuse hotlines. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) was established in 1964 as the nation’s first cabinet-level state child welfare agency. DCFS is responsible for protecting children through the investigation of suspected abuse or neglect by parents or caregivers who are in a position of trust or authority over a child. Located in Wheaton, Ill., the Children’s Center is part of the Dupage County Children’s Advocacy Center within the State’s Attorney Office. It is specifically for minors who are being interviewed based on reported child abuse or neglect. 

Investigating Reports of Child Abuse or Neglect

When authorities receive a report of potential child abuse or neglect, the initial response may lead to a criminal investigation. These investigations may involve the accused party or parties as well as the alleged victim. They may be conducted by child protective services employees, police officers, or a multidisciplinary team. The purpose of the investigation is to determine if a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed in the future. In addition, its goal is to reduce the danger and increase the safety of the child, while determining the need for services to support the child and the family. In some cases, someone can be wrongfully accused if the accusations are based on false information, evidence, or even mistaken identity. 

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DuPage County child abuse defense attorney

One of the main duties parents have is to protect their children from any harm or danger, such as abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional). This can also include neglect, which means not meeting a child’s basic needs, such as providing him or her with adequate food, housing, or medical care. Abuse can also include excessive corporal punishment or leaving a child alone at home, at a park, or in a vehicle. That is why certain people are required by law to immediately report any suspected abuse or neglect of a person under 18 years of age to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Even if you are not a parent or legal guardian of a child, you still may be responsible for a child’s welfare if you are a caregiver for that child. 

What Is a Mandated Reporter?

While there are many Illinois laws regarding child protection and welfare, the most important one is the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA). Under this law, a wide array of professionals and other individuals are required to report suspected abuse or neglect if they witness it or have knowledge of it. A mandated reporter is a person who, as a result of his or her profession, is legally obligated to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the authorities. These laws are in place to prevent children from being abused and to stop any further abuse or neglect as soon as possible.

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