Courts

Understand the laws and court processes that shape CASA Kane County’s role in the courtroom. Learn more about the responsibilities of the different parties we work with in the courtroom and how to contact them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.  Abuse/Neglect: Who’s who in the courtroom, Juvenile Court Act
2.  Probate: Who’s who in the courtroom, Illinois Probate Act

Abuse/Neglect

WHO ARE ALL THOSE PEOPLE IN THE COURTROOM AND WHY ARE THEY THERE?

It won’t take you long to learn who is who in the courtroom, but at first it may seem confusing.  The following information will help you to identify the court personnel and others who may appear in court.

Judge:

A Juvenile Court Judge is assigned by the Chief Judge of the Circuit.  A Juvenile Court Judge makes decisions based on facts and evidence that are presented to him on an individual case.  The State’s Attorney, Guardian ad Litem, Public Defender, private attorney, may all make recommendations to the judge.  There is no jury in these proceedings; the presiding judge makes all final decisions.  Kane County has two juvenile judges.  The judge presiding over delinquency cases is located that the Juvenile Justice Center. The judge presiding over abuse and neglect cases is located in Courtroom 140. The judge hearing the delinquency case may also have cases that involve dually involved youth. Dually involved youth are those minors that have a delinquency case and an abuse and neglect case as well.

Attorneys:

State’s Attorney:  A State’s Attorney is elected in each county and is responsible for representing the People of the State of Illinois in court.  In Kane County, the State’s Attorney’s Office has a unit comprised of multiple assistant state’s attorneys who are assigned to both juvenile delinquency and abuse and neglect.   Any one (agency, citizen, private attorney) may prepare and file a Petition for Adjudication however only the State’s Attorney’s office has discretion to prosecute the Petition for Adjudication.

Public Defender:  The Public Defender is an attorney who may be appointed to represent parents in dependency and neglect cases, if the parents cannot afford to hire a private attorney.  This appointment occurs only in those counties where the county board has authorized public defenders.  Public defenders have the duty to protect the parents’ rights.

Conflict Attorneys:  Additional attorneys contracted by the county for appointment when there is a conflict with the Public Defender’s Office. Conflict Attorneys can be appointed to represent a parent or in some cases the minor.

DCFS Attorney:  In some cases a DCFS attorney may appear in the juvenile court proceedings. DCFS attorney appears to represent DCFS and private agencies that DCFS contracts with to provide case management.

CASA/GAL Attorney:  Once CASA is appointed as the child’s Guardian Ad Litem, CASA will have its own attorney in court to represent the GAL in court proceedings.

Guardian ad Litem:

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) represents the child’s best interests. In Kane County, the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) serves as GAL.

DCFS Caseworkers:

DCFS caseworkers and occasionally their supervisors appear to give the background of the case, to explain the service plan, to give an update of progress or lack of progress of the parents, provide status of services and to give their recommendations to the court.

Private Agency Caseworkers:

Private agency caseworkers also give evidence regarding the case’s progress and have the same responsibilities for the case as DCFS caseworkers. This involvement of a private agency is arranged through a contract between DCFS and the private agency called a purchase of service (POS) contract in which the private agency is responsible for the casework for a particular child. Examples of private agencies are Youth Service Bureau Children’s Home and Aid Society, and One Hope United.

Counselors:

Counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists may appear occasionally to give an update of counseling progress.

Witnesses:

Police officers, physicians, school personnel, neighbors and relatives may appear in court to testify.

Court Personnel:

Bailiffs:  Bailiffs and/or Deputy Sheriffs have responsibility for security and monitoring order in the courtrooms.  The bailiffs help people sign in and advise them when their case is being called in the courtroom.

Clerk:  The Clerk of the court is responsible for keeping court records, setting cases on the calendar and sending notices.

Court Reporter:  A court reporter (or stenographer) is present in court to record a verbatim report of court proceeding.  Juvenile Court proceedings are closed to the public.

Language Interpreters:  The court will make arrangements for language interpreters to be present to translate the entire hearing when one or more parents do not speak or understand English fluently.

Parents:

Father or mother of a child; includes any adoptive parent. It also includes the father whose paternity is presumed or has been established. It does not include a parent whose rights have been terminated.

Foster Parents:

Any current or previously appointed foster parent or relative caregiver has the right to be heard by the Court but does not thereby become a party to the proceedings. In addition to the right to be heard by the Court, any current foster parent or relative caregiver of a minor has the right to and shall receive adequate notice at all stages of any hearing or proceedings.

Probate

WHO ARE ALL THOSE PEOPLE IN THE COURTROOM AND WHY ARE THEY THERE?

It won’t take you long to learn who is who in the courtroom, but at first it may seem confusing.  The following information will help you to identify the court personnel and others who may appear in court.

Judge:

A Court Judge is assigned by the Chief Judge of the Circuit. A Court Judge makes decisions based on facts and evidence that are presented to him on an individual case. The CASA/GAL and private attorney, may make recommendations to the judge. There is no jury in these proceedings; the presiding judge makes all final decisions. The judge presiding over delinquency cases is located that the Juvenile Justice Center. The judge presiding over private guardianship/probate cases is located in Courtroom 110.

Attorneys:

CASA/GAL Attorney:  Once CASA is appointed as the child’s Guardian Ad Litem, CASA will have its own attorney in court to represent the GAL in court proceedings.

Guardian ad Litem:

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) represents the child’s best interests. In Kane County, the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) serves as GAL.

Counselors:

Counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists may appear occasionally to give an update of counseling progress.

Court Personnel:

Bailiffs:  Bailiffs and/or Deputy Sheriffs have responsibility for security and monitoring order in the courtrooms.  The bailiffs help people sign in and advise them when their case is being called in the courtroom.

Clerk:  The Clerk of the court is responsible for keeping court records, setting cases on the calendar and sending notices.

Language Interpreters:  The court will make arrangements for language interpreters to be present to translate the entire hearing when one or more parents do not speak or understand English fluently.

Parents:

Father or mother of a child; includes any adoptive parent. It also includes the father whose paternity is presumed or has been established. It does not include a parent whose rights have been terminated.

Guardian (Petitioner for guardianship/probate case):

Any current or previously appointed guardian or relative caregiver has the right to be heard by the Court. In addition to the right to be heard by the Court, any current guardian or relative caregiver of a minor has the right to and shall receive adequate notice at all stages of any hearing or proceedings.