January 2013
The Child & Family Law Center of the North Shore Newsletter             

In This Issue
New Year's Message
Twenty-Somethings: A Unique Practice Area
Education: Common Core Standards
Special Education: Placement FAQ

"Divorce and the Special Needs Child"

Thursday, February 7, 2013
6:30 p.m. - 7: 30 p.m.

Presented by Micki Moran, this webinar will focus on the unique legal issues faced by families in the process of divorce or contemplating divorce with a special needs child in the family.

For more information and to register
click on the link:


Stay tuned for future Webinars:
  • Advocating for your Child, Teen and Young Adult with Mental Illness. 
  • What Parents Need to Know about RTI (Response to Intervention).
  • Transition Planning-Special Education and Other Concerns. 
  • Considerations for the Adult Disabled Child

Announcements and Upcoming Events:



Micki Moran will participate on a panel discussion on  

Key Issues in Special Education Law
at the
Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE)

on February 27, 2013  

in Springfield, IL 



NAMI-Cook County  

North Suburban

Balance for Success

Support Group

Balance Recovery with Work or College Life

first and third Tuesday of each month, 7:00-8:30

Winnetka Congregational Church

Call 847-716-2252 or email Nancy Sussman

[email protected]

for information.  


Send us your announcements! 
Is your group or organization having and event? Email us or call our office at 847-926-0101 with the information and The Child & Family Law Center will be happy to publish it in our newsletter.


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In addition to traditional divorce services,  

The Child and Family Law Center now offers:


Divorce Mediation


  • Cost Effective.
  • Experienced Mediator.
  • Child Centered.
  • Problem Solving Focused. 

Please call us at 847-926-0101 for more information.

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The Child and Family Law Center provides representation and consultation in the following areas:
  • Special Education and School Law
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile and Criminal Law
  • Mental Health and Disability Law
 Check our website for a complete list of our services

The Child and Family Law Center, Ltd.  

1950 Sheridan Rd.
Suite 201 
Highland Park, IL 60035
phone: 847-926-0101
fax: 847-926-8500 
 We provide representation in the following Northern Illinois counties:  Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, and McHenry.
Hello and Welcome.  Each month The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore, Ltd. will provide articles of interest and updates on areas that our office deals with on a regular basis.  We appreciate and welcome feedback, so please feel free to send us an email at [email protected] with questions or suggestions.
New Year's Message from Micki Moran

Happy New Year to all my clients and colleagues. The last several months have been very humbling and have provided me with a window into what having a disability means on a day to day basis. In late October, on an ordinary evening, I was walking my dog in the rain. She pulled forward, I slipped on mud and wet leaves and for a moment, I became airborne, landing on my shoulder. Although I had never broken anything before, I was fairly certain that this was  in fact what had happened. The result was an ambulance ride and several days later, surgery for a 4 part fracture to my shoulder. For the last two months, my right arm has been immobilized and quite painful.

I was faced with all the things I couldn't do, rather than the things I could do. I couldn't type, put on my socks, reach for anything, drive (at this point I am still being chauffeured around). I prided myself on my independence and now at least for the short run, I was dependent on everyone. I counted the days/months until this would pass. Cooking was impossible, although I subsequently mastered a few one handed recipes. I discovered that the world is complicated with only a working left hand. I slept upright and not very well. There seemed to be more things I could not do on a daily basis.
It has been a humbling experience and one I hope not to repeat. I am still in the process of healing but there has been slow progress on most days. I have tried to take some meaning from this experience. It has given me a much greater, personal look into the world of my clients with physical and other limitations. The experience has reminded me that small kindnesses matter and give thanks to the strangers on the train who helped me with my coat and briefcase. I am thankful for my friends who have been there for me in ways I never anticipated. I am especially grateful to my son who has been there every day, waiting for me at the train, driving me to work, doing the laundry and in general being such a mensch. It has put the meaning of family in sharp focus and reminded me that there has been a silver lining in this unexpected set back.
Thank you to everyone for your support and understanding on this New Year. I am  humbled by my clients' struggles and hope that this experience will make me a better lawyer and human being.

Twenty Somethings - A Unique Practice Area

In the early days of opening our child -focused practice, we represented mostly children and adolescents. However, as the years have gone by, our focus has expanded to include legal representation of emerging young adults as a significant population.*  (ages 18-29). For young people with disabilities, including learning disabilities and mental health issues, this period of their lives can be a particularly difficult time.

A few facts regarding this group helps explain the necessity of providing informed legal services to assist in the transition. These twenty-somethings tend to have a higher rate of involvement in the legal system, specifically the criminal justice system.

    "For young adults, it can be a stressful time. High rates of anxiety, depression, motor-vehicle accidents and alcohol use are at their peak from ages 18 to 25, trends that tend to level out by age 28." (Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2012, Delayed Development: 20 Somethings Blame the Brain). The top 10 causes of death in young people, including motor vehicle accidents, homicides and suicides, are all preventable issues related to judgment, not illness.

Below are a few facts regarding this group:

*    Adolescents and 20-something brains are also particularly vulnerable to trauma, abuse, alcohol and drugs. Brain scans have shown that heavy drinking defined as 20 or more drinks a month in young people can lead to decreased cognitive function, memory and attention.

*    Some severe mental illnesses also become apparent between ages 15 and 25. (e.g. schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder)

Our role as attorneys goes beyond simply showing up in court or filing motions. In our office, the emphasis is on a multidisciplinary approach in addressing the legal needs of our clients. The goal is to identify appropriate interventions that will not only deal with the immediate legal issues but also prevent further deterioration. For example, as part of our representation of young adults with mental health issues or developmental disabilities, we insist on an evaluation, encourage treatment, and work in a therapeutic way to use the current legal matter as an opportunity for intervention.

 Obviously our goal is to prevent or mitigate the life altering consequences of a conviction or other serious long term consequences attendant to poor decision making and impulsive behavior.

Resources: Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road for the Late Teens Through the Twenties ( Oxford University Press, 2004).

The Child and Family Law Center, Highland Park, IL (847)-926-0101. www.lawforchild.com

NAMI Cook County North Suburban: namiccns.org

Yellowbrick. A unique treatment program located in Evanston, Illinois specializing in the mental health and other issues designed specifically to address the needs of the emerging adult population.

Common Core Standards 

In Recent IEP's I have attended, district personnel have talked about the Illinois State Learning Standards in corporating the Common Core. Most parents are unfamiliar with these terms. So, in hopes of clarifying and providing links to resources, I urge parents to familiarize themselves with this new language and expectations. It is essential to note that these standards are not IEP goals and aren't individualized nor applicable only to special education students.
The Common Core Standards Initiative is a state led effort coordinated by the National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices and the Counsel of Chief State School Officers. The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts to prepare our children for college and the work force.
The NGO and CCSSO received initial feedback on the draft standards from national organizations representing but not limited to teachers, post-secondary educators (including community colleges), civil rights groups, English language learners, and students with disabilities.
The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.
These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards:
  • Are aligned with college and work expectations;
  • Are clear, understandable and consistent;
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
  • Are informed by other top performing countries so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
  • Are evidence based.

Selected Resources:


www.isbe.net/common_core  (Illinois State Board of Education) 

Special Education:
Placement FAQ

FAQ: The school held an IEP last month, which we attended, and determined that my daughter needed to be placed in another school in a self-contained classroom. She has been getting services under an IEP for the last three years. My husband and I want her to remain in her current classroom at her home school. The IEP team said she isn't making any progress. We don't agree. Yesterday they sent a letter home indicating that the bus will pick her up tomorrow and take her to her new school. Can they do this even if we didn't agree to this at the IEP meeting?

Answer: Yes. This is a common misconception. The law doesn't require that everyone at the table agree to a change in placement or a modification of the IEP (34 CFR300.24) The law requires only that the team be present and a consensus, not a unanimous decision, is reached. Parental input is important. However, parents cannot veto an IEP team's decision. The parents, in the case of a disagreement regarding placement, are entitled to challenge the decision in an administrative hearing. 

The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore is a unique legal practice that specializes in providing legal services to families and children in the areas of special education, IEP consultations, divorce and custody, parenting agreements, mediation, guardianship and juvenile law, including criminal law, DCFS and mental health. Where possible, we have initiated flat fee billing for appropriate matters.


The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore 

1950 Sheridan Rd.

Suite 201

Highland Park, IL 60035 


For more information about The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore, please call 847-926-0101 or visit our website at www.lawforchild.com 

Micki Moran
The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore