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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we discuss two of the most common orders that may be entered during the proceedings of an Illinois child welfare case and answer the following questions:

  • What is a protective order in an Illinois child welfare case?
  • How should the attorney for the parents handle a protective order?
  • What are the possible outcomes of a protective order?
  • What is an order of continuance under supervision?
  • What is the difference between a protective order and an order of continuance?

At the initial hearing in the child welfare case if there is probable cause to believe the child was abused, neglected or dependent the court must decide if the child can remain at home or if it is a matter of immediate or urgent necessity that further steps must be taken to protect the child. If the court determines the latter, then it will seek entry of a court order to govern the parties if the minor returns home or it will seek a further finding of urgent and immediate necessity and attempt to order the child into protective custody. If the attorney for the parents’ contests moving the child to protective custody he or she will usually propose alternatives such as an order of protection or supervision.

What Is A Protective Order In An Illinois Child Welfare Case?

A protective order in an Illinois child welfare case is a type of court order that serves to protect the child from potential instances of abuse or domestic violence. It functions by keeping the alleged abuser from coming within a certain distance of the child. You can learn more about Illinois orders of protection here. Child protection orders will contain stipulations covering contact between the child and the alleged abuser, visitation rights, relocation costs, medical care costs, counseling requirements, and surrender of any property or document belonging to the child. The order must describe a specified period of time unless sexual abuse or incest is involved,

How Should The Attorney For The Parents Handle A Protective Order?

The parent’s attorney should ensure that the conditions listed in the protective order are appropriate, realistic, and unambiguous. The attorney should review the protective order with his or her clients to make sure they fully understand the expectations of the court and the consequences of violating the protective order.

The attorney for the parents should also be aware of the inclusion of any conditions for the minor. For example, the protective order may list a provision covering excessive corporal punishment to keep the parents in check, but also a provision requiring that the child follow all household rules. If the protective order fails to provide any stipulations regarding the child’s behavior but the parents feel more order is needed to maintain a healthy home ecosystem the attorney may request that a provision be included in the protective order.

What Are The Possible Outcomes Of A Protective Order?

One or more follow-up court dates will be scheduled to assess the compliance of the parties to the protective order. The caseworker will also report on the level of involvement of DCFS in helping the parties receive the necessary services to improve their home situation.

If the parents violate the protective order the court may seek to remove the child and place him or her in protective custody. However, the state will need to prove that there is a new cause for urgent and immediate necessity to remove the child. 

If all parties adhere to the protective order and there is no cause for extending the court order then the order can be lifted. 

What Is An Order Of Continuance Under Supervision?

An order of continuance under supervision is a court order in a child welfare case that requires that the parties involved in a child welfare case continue to receive supervision by the appropriate agency for alleged abuse, neglect, or dependency. It allows the child to remain home with one or both of the parents under regular supervision.

What Is The Difference Between A Protective Order And A Order Of Continuance?

There are a number of differences between a protective order and an order of continuance under supervision, including:

  • A protective order does not require that the parties give weight to the truth of any facts alleged by the state;
  • An order of protection can be issued at any time during the proceedings, but an order of continuance can only be entered after an admission, stipulation, or evidence supporting the petition is presented at the adjudicatory hearing but before a finding is entered;
  • An order of protection can still be entered even if one party objects to the order, but an order of continuance under supervision can only be entered in the absence of an objection from either party; and
  • If the order of supervision is violated the court may move directly to findings, adjudication, and disposition without trial

Attorneys representing parents under an order of supervision should be prepared to argue that any violations of the order that do not directly affect the child’s health, safety, or well-being should not be grounds for removal of the child. The attorney will likely stipulate that only situations where the urgent and immediate necessity to protect the child is paramount will the removal of the child to protective custody be considered.

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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