March 2014

The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore


In This Issue
Special Education: Funding Residential Placements
Special Education: Funding Cuts in Illinois
Divorce Mediation


Extended School Year:  

The Law and the Reality  

Presented by Micki Moran, J.D. of The Child & Family Law Center


Thursday, April 10, 2014

12:00-12:30 pm 



Call 847-926-0101 for information 


Announcements and Upcoming Events:



 Center for Independent Futures


SPARK 2014 


Spring Fundraiser

Friday April 25

7-11 p.m.

Galleria Marchetti 


847-328-2665 for information  



Transition Planning Workshop

Presented by Micki Moran

Stay tuned for date and time 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Chicago 
Awards Dinner and Auction 
Thursday, April 10, 2014 
6:00 p.m. 
For more information and to purchase tickets call 312-563-0445  

provides job training, employment and community development through organic agriculture.

Attend their Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction  
Tuesday, May 20 
5:30-9:30 pm 
at Salvage One 
1840 W. Hubbard 
Chicago, IL

Contact Growing Home for information 773-549-1336
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.
Lisle Office

The Child and Family Law Center is pleased to announce the opening of a branch office in Lisle, Illinois. Attorneys Micki Moran and Joe Scally will meet with clients by appointment at 5950-E Lincoln, Lisle, IL.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 847-926-0101.
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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

Consultations by appointment in our Lisle, IL office. Please call for information. 
We provide representation in the following Northern Illinois counties:  Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, McHenry,and Will. 
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.
ISBE Cuts Reimbursement Rates to School Districts Funding Residential Placements

In December, 2013, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Superintendent announced dramatic cuts in the reimbursement rates to districts for students who are in residential placements. Previously, districts had been reimbursed up to 100% of their costs for these placements. While residential placements have always been reserved for the most severe of students whose needs could not be met in a less restrictive setting, there was the comfort in knowing that with effort from parents, often with attorneys, districts would be compelled to see the need and know that they would be reimbursed.
This has all changed dramatically this year. Schools will now be reimbursed for only 50% of the costs of these placements. A "typical" residential placement can cost schools on average between $120,000.00 and $170,000.00 annually,. For cash strapped schools, this is not something they can or will agree to easily. Unfortunately, the need for these placements has risen incrementally. In an informal discussion with the ISBE administrator who is responsible for approving these placements, it was indicated that applications have doubled in the past several years.
Students who need these placements have the most severe issues. While there is no typical student, a few profiles of the students who are in residential placements may be helpful.
  • Student A is a teenager with autism. They have become increasingly aggressive at home and at school. They have not made progress and are regressing. Staff have been injured at school and the student requires intensive behavioral interventions on a 24/7 basis.
  • Student B is severely depressed. They have an eligibility of Emotional Disturbance and OHI. For the past school year, they have been psychiatrically hospitalized several times and their medications don't seem to be helping. The student has talked about suicide and has no friends. Student B is barely passing their classes and spends most of the day out of the classroom in the therapeutic day school with the social worker or in the hall. 

What does this mean for parents whose students are already in residential placements or in need of these environments? While residential placements were never easy to get agreement from the school, districts are scrutinizing these requests as never before. Some districts are simply saying no. As a parent's attorney, I have almost always informed clients that they needed an attorney to help them in their request for a residential placement. These cutbacks in funding will most certainly make the need for lawyers to navigate the process more important than ever. This is not an infomercial for legal services but an unfortunate reality. The result will be that cash strapped parents who are in a desperate situation will need to hire counsel to sue the district in a due process hearing to get much needed help. Most parents cannot afford private legal services. This process is not fast, easy or without tremendous stress. The stakes are high for both sides. For the school district, it is money. For the parents, it is their child's life.  


Funding Cuts will Impact Students in Illinois in a Dramatic Way 

For those of you who are parents or are involved in any way with education in Illinois, it will come as no shock that Illinois schools are facing a financial crisis. An Illinois State Board of Education report released Wednesday shows more Illinois schools are in poor financial shape and borrowing money or dipping into reserves than the previous years. State education officials say that the state has underfunded education for the past three years causing the overall downgrade in financial strength.
"Tough choices have become par for the course for the school district administrators and local boards as many have cut staff positions as well as arts and after school programs, delayed construction projects and important repairs and are deficit spending in order to pay the bills," said Gary J. Chico, the board chairman.
Representatives from ISBE have met with legislators to request an increase in funds they maintain are necessary to properly educate students. More cuts are likely as the budget tightens.
"Cutting expenses even further is going to be near impossible for most districts...without negatively affecting the quality of education they provide," said Chris Koch, State Superintendent.

Divorce Mediation

I practice Divorce law. That means I sometimes represent clients in litigation or court hearings that are adversarial. Those are sometimes necessary. However, despite this fact, I fundamentally believe that divorcing couples should if possible mediate their dispute with a trained mediator. In my first year of starting this practice I took the 40 hour training course for Family Law Mediators. It was a great learning experience and one that I felt was consistent with my belief that the existing way we divorce is not good for families and children. I still do mediation and remain firm in my commitment that if it is successful, both parties and their children will emerge with less damage and more ownership of the result. This philosophy guides how I work with my clients.

FAQ: Do I have to mediate all issues?
No. You can choose those issues that you/your spouse want to work on reaching an agreement on. For example, beginning with the issues regarding the children can be a good start. Many divorcing couples may disagree or get stuck on finances but can find common ground on parenting issues and assuring that their children's needs are met.

FAQ: My husband has controlled all of our finances. I don't have any idea about the money issues. Can I still participate in mediation?
The answer is yes. You have to feel comfortable that both of you will honestly disclose all the financial information. There are asset disclosure statements for most counties in Illinois. This is a good starting point. One spouse may need to work with an attorney or accountant to help them get "up to speed" on the financial issues. If you believe that your spouse is hiding assets or is simply using his or her superior information to bully you, mediating the financial issues may be difficult and not advisable.

FAQ: How do I choose a mediator?
At the very least, you should choose a mediator who is trained in family law mediation. Sometimes this will be an attorney or mental health professional. You both should interview the mediator and determine if you feel comfortable with them.

FAQ: Is mediation less expensive than hiring an attorney:
Typically, yes. However, both parties should retain an attorney to review the agreements. 

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 

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