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Marie J. Taraska

Chicago Lawyer, DCFS and Family Lawyer
(773) 989-8502
Legal Services

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Marie Taraska understands that the law affects people in many different ways. Ms. Taraska has over 27 years of experience both in and out of the courtroom including both counsel and representation. Ms. Taraska helps defend families against the Department of Children and Family Services in all stages of proceedings.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigates and makes determinations regarding any cases involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Anyone may call DCFS anonymously and make allegations involving a child. The reporter is not required to leave their contact information, but often the call will result in investigations which cause extreme anxiety and distress for all of the family members involved.

DCFS investigations can be directed at anyone involved in taking care of a child or living in the home with a child when an abuse or neglect allegation is made. The investigators hold great power over the entire family and are often not clear regarding their investigation.

A DCFS investigation is allowed by law to last for at least 60 days while an investigator gathers information about the family. The investigations can be extended for months after the first 60 days which puts incredible amounts of stress on the family. The DCFS investigators often require the family to put in a safety plan in place during their investigation. These safety plans are drafted by the DCFS investigators, can be very confusing to the family and may require one or the other parent to move out of the home during the investigation. A safety plan may also require other individuals to move into the home to "supervise" the family during the investigation.

Depending on the information given in the call to DCFS, police or other law enforcement may also begin their own investigation. After an investigation is completed, it is possible criminal charges could be brought against the person investigated. Even if criminal charges are not initiated, the case can be brought to Juvenile Child Protection Court where a parent may lose custody of their children.

The DCFS investigator can also "indicate" the person being investigated. After an individual is indicated, they only have 60 days to appeal this finding or it will be kept as a record of that person’s abuse or neglect of a child in the State Central Registry. An indication can have many negative implications on a person which include not being able to work in areas which deal with children and affecting a person’s ability to volunteer at their children’s school.

Among the most complicated DCFS matters are those in which a child is suffering from a medically complex condition. These cases can be interpreted incorrectly by doctors as abuse or neglect caused by a parent or caregiver. Ms. Taraska has extensive experience helping families work through these especially challenging cases.

During a divorce or parentage proceeding, an allegation of abuse or neglect can have far-reaching negative consequences in how custody is finalized. Attorney Taraska works with domestic relations attorneys to protect a parent from a false allegation of abuse and neglect.

Attorney Taraska understands the interplay of all of these consequences and works diligently to make sure all of her clients are adequately protected from day one.

Because the DCFS investigators have so much power over the lives of all the individuals involved in an investigation, it is important to have a lawyer who can fully represent you during the first steps of the investigation.

These are only a few of the many services that Ms. Taraska offers. For more information, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, call Ms. Taraska at 773-989-8502.

Empowering Families against DCFS overreach for decades.