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Kevin O'Flaherty

This article explains parents’ visitation rights after the court has removed children in a juvenile case based on alleged abuse or neglect. For more on removing a child from a parent’s custody based on reports of abuse or neglect made to the DCFS, check out our article, How to Remove a Child from the Parent’s Custody. 

The Juvenile Court Act is intended to keep families together if possible without creating an undue threat of harm to the child. Therefore, when a parent has had a child temporarily removed from custody due to a recommendation to the States Attorney from the DCFS or a petition filed by a concerned third party, the parent has certain rights to visitation with the child. 

The goal of the law is to ultimately reunite the parent and the child after the parent completes a DCFS service plan, which may include therapy, parenting classes, or rehab to make the parent’s home environment safe. 

For all children in temporary custody in juvenile cases or in cases in which the DCFS service plan goal is to return the child to the parent, as opposed to permanently removing the child from the parent’s custody, the parent must be allowed a weekly visit with the child at a minimum. If possible, the visits must be in a home-like setting. 

Within three days of non-emergency placements of the child in non-parental custody and ten days of emergency placements, the DCFS is required to prepare a visitation plan, with the first parental visit taking place within two weeks of placement in the custody of a non-parent. 

If the minor will be safe in an unsupervised visit, the parent may request that visits be unsupervised. If the judge is not comfortable with unsupervised visits initially, the judge may grant unsupervised visits at the discretion of the DCFS caseworker. This will allow for unsupervised visits once the parent demonstrates to the caseworker that such visits will not create an unsafe environment for the child. The DCFS caseworker may also agree to supervision by another adult family member. 

Seeking visitation, being present for all scheduled visitation, and recording parental presence at visitation are critical factors in the court’s final judgment as to whether to ultimately return the child to parental custody.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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