Adoption & Child Custody Advocacy

The Department of Adoption & Child Custody Advocacy, under the Authority of Illinois Statutes, conducts investigations and submits intensive social studies in the form of written reports to the Circuit Court. These investigations include independent adoption placements, contested adoptions, custody/visitation, diputes in domestic relations and parentage cases, probate (minors, disabled minors and/or adults and the elderly).

This agency renders services for a large number of indigent families and provides the Court with written information regarding the home situation. The main focus is the best interests of children in adoption, custody/visitation and probate cases. The Department renders an invaluable service for the welfare of the citizens and community.

Services

Intake functions to screen prospective adoptive parents, securing information to ascertain in a preliminary interview, prior to placement, whether they are suitable parents for the child. Intake caseworkers also interview birth parents prior to the termination of their rights. Extensive background information is taken from birth parents with the understanding that this information will be available to the adoptive parents and the adoptee later in life.

In custody, probate investigations, Intake personnel secure basic information to forward to Field staff in the form of a case file to be used in initiating the caseworker’s investigation.

The focus of the field caseworker on adoptive studies is to determine that a placement of a child in a home is suitable from the emotional and physical standpoint. A home study is made to determine that the adoptive parents can and will provide a sound, healthy environment for the child. Medical, social, financial information etc. is obtained. The result of fingerprinting information is compiled. The adoptive parents are given background information on the birth parents. Medical and birth histories are also given.

The caseworkers investigate and advise the Court of their findings in written reports. The purpose is to ensure that all necessary information is available to the Court in determining the best interests of the child.

When a dispute arises in the Domestic Relations, Municipal and Probate Divisions of the Circuit Court regarding custody or visitation of children, the Court may order the Department to conduct a home study evaluation of the involved parties: parents, step-parents, children, guardians, babysitters and extended family members.

The Department offers post-adoption services involving inquiries from adult adoptees and to a lesser degree from birth parents for non-identifying information concerning the adoptee’s biological background or the couple with whom the child is placed. The Department may also be called upon to act as Confidential Intermediary in adoption matters its handled in the past. This entails conducting a search to locate an adoptee’s biological family to ascertain current medical and psychological information. The Department also offers meditation on probate cases.

Forms

Other Organizations

  • Adoption Information Service
  • Child Abuse
  • Child Support
  • Children’s Memorial Hospital
  • Cook County Hospital
  • Cook County Public Guardian
  • Illinois Dept. Of Children & Family Services (DCFS)
  • Interstate Compact
  • Juvenile Court
  • Larabida
  • Legal Assistance
  • Mediation
  • Municipal Court
  • Psychiatric Institute