Your Rights as the Parent of a Child in Foster Care
You have the right to ask the lawyers, caseworkers and the judge questions.
You have the right to a lawyer. If you do not have the money to hire a lawyer, the judge will appoint one for you. Write down your lawyer’s name and telephone number.
Regarding the home in which your child is placed, if you know of a relative (including godparents) who would be appropriate to care for your child, tell your caseworker. If the worker refuses to place the child with a relative, ask your lawyer if you can challenge the placement decision.
You have the right to and should make every effort to participate in court hearings.
You have the right to a visit with your child within 14 days of when DCFS takes Protective Custody. Your initial visit will be supervised. If visitation does not occur, contact your caseworker and lawyer.
Through your lawyer, you have a right to testify in court, bring in your own witnesses, and have your lawyer question the people who testify against you. If at any time you do not understand what is happening, or think there is a problem, tell your lawyer.
You have the right to be provided with services that will help you with your case.
If you are in jail or prison, it is likely that the facility in which you are housed offers services that will be helpful to you, such as parenting classes, high school or community college-level classes, substance abuse treatment and counseling. If you participate in and successfully complete services while in prison or jail, you should get credit for having completed them.
You have the right to appeal some of the judge’s decisions. Make sure you contact your lawyer if you want to file an appeal.
You have a right to examine court files and records.
You have the right to copies of the judge’s orders regarding your case.
You have the right to understand and get help with what you need to do in order to get your child home with you. Your caseworker has a responsibility to work with you and to assist you in making the necessary changes to get your child home.
Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication. For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, visit our lawyer referral page.
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