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I Have Been Asked to Create a Safety Plan. What Does This Mean?

Posted on in Domestic Violence

safety-planAs a parent, one of your greatest goals in life is to keep your child safe. Family attorneys and the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) share this goal. Sometimes, keeping a child safe requires DCFS to remove a child from his or her parent's home or create a set of rules that the parent must follow to prevent the child from being harmed by his or her parent or any other individual present in that parent's home.

You might be asked to work with DCFS to create a safety plan for your child. Do not panic or become combative with the party asking you to agree to this plan – it is not an indictment against you as a parent, but a way DCFS can work to protect your child from a potentially-harmful situation. Work with your attorney and DCFS to create a safety plan that works for your child and you.

What Is a Safety Plan?

A safety plan is a set of actions that a child is to take if he or she feels he or she is in danger of harm. If DCFS determines during its investigation that a child cannot successfully carry out the actions of a safety plan, it might opt to remove the child from a household altogether. Examples of provisions that may be included in a safety plan include:

  • Instructions for leaving the home in the event of escalating violence;
  • Safety precautions for the child to follow when violence occurs, such as staying out of a specific area of the home or retiring to a bedroom;
  • Creating a list of adult figures the child can reach out to about his or her feelings; and    
  • A plan to enroll the child in counseling.    

How to Create a Safety Plan

A safety plan must be completed in writing. Your attorney can help you draft a safety plan for your child.

While a safety plan is pending, you or your child might be required to stay in a place other than your home. It might take temporary protective custody of your child. You are not required to agree to a safety plan, but refusing to do so can result in an alteration to your parenting time schedule.

Your safety plan might require you to attend “intact services,” which are services provided to parents to help them become better caretakers to their children. These services include:

  • Anger management courses;
  • Counseling;
  • Parenting classes; and    
  • Mental health evaluations.    

Child Custody Attorneys in Kane County

Safety plans are a way DCFS keeps children safe. If you have been asked to work with DCFS to develop a safety plan for your child, cooperate with the agency and work with an experienced Kane County family attorney to fully understand the process and how it can affect your child custody order. To get started with our firm, contact Goostree Law Group today to schedule your free legal consultation with us.

 

Sources:

http://www.illinois.gov/dcfs/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.thehotline.org/2013/04/safety-planning-with-children/

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