Parental Rights & DCFS Cases
In a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor explained that there is “a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life's difficult decisions.” Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 68 (2000) (plurality opinion of the Court). The U.S. Constitution recognizes a “presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children.” Further, both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments recognize and provide “heightened protection against governmental interference” in “[t]he liberty . . . interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children.”
At Crossroad Legal, we always start our analysis of a case by looking to what fundamental liberty is at issue. When it comes to the State of Illinois interfering in parental rights, the U.S. Supreme Court once wrote, “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder.” Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651 (1944).
If you're involved in a juvenile court case in southern Illinois and need help, contact Crossroad Legal today. We work across the region to help families keep their parental rights and fight for the right to parent their children as they choose, without interference from the government.
Juvenile Delinquent Cases
In Illinois, minors who commit criminal offenses are charged in juvenile court. These courts operate much like adult court, except that there are more procedural protections to help rehabilitate the youthful offender, and the court record is kept private from the public. A juvenile misdemeanor or felony conviction can result in a child being sentenced to the Department of Juvenile Justice until their 21st birthday. What's more, it means the minor losing out on traditional school and family experiences. Children who come of age in DJJ are often plagued with emotional problems, psychiatric trauma, and are more likely to reoffend as adults. In short, juvenile convictions don't help rehabilitate youths. Also, young people who receive these convictions are often passed over for college admissions, job opportunities, and may even be precluded from military service in some cases. Finally, it is a myth that the record is automatically “expunged.” In truth, this is a process that requires skilled assistance, and there is no guarantee of success later. This is why it is important to hire an attorney right away. Common juvenile offenses include:
- Retail theft
- Drug possession
- Property damage
- Offenses committed at school
- Offenses committed in public
- Youth sex crimes
- Truancy violations
If your child has been charged with a crime and needs representation, contact Crossroad Legal now, by calling (618) 515-5555, and discover options for helping to clear your child's good name and prevent a conviction from ruining their life.