Summer 2014

The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore


In This Issue
The Broken Mental Health System
Winning a Due Process Hearing
New Assessments for Illinois Students


Divorce and the Special Needs Child:
Legal Considerations
Child focused visitation schedules; Parenting plans and reducing conflict; Financial considerations; Co-parenting; School planning; Residency and custody; Mediation.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 
6:30-7:00 p.m.


Call 847-926-0101 for information 

Announcements & Upcoming Events:


Micki Moran will present an In-Service for Special Education Teachers on
Sponsored by: 
November 14, 2014 
Charleston, IL

Is your group or organization having and event?
Email  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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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.
 "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."
Mark Twain
The Broken Mental Health System

Fact: Less than 50 percent of the people with serious mental health issues have access to any treatment at all according to the National Association of Mental Illness.   

I represent many adolescents and young adults with serious mental illness. Not infrequently,  parents will call me on a weekend to ask whether I think that hospitalizing their child is necessary due to extreme behaviors or suicidal concerns. No, I am not a psychiatrist. I am an attorney. My job is to provide legal advice and these issues for the most part are outside my field. Parents call because they are desperate. Their child may not even be currently seeing a psychiatrist or refusing treatment. If they are over 18, this complicates matters even further. Parents often have no idea of what to do or who to call.


The parents may feel that they or their child are unsafe of that this will be a wake-up call. It often isn't. If parents do decide to take their child to a hospital, they may be assessed and by that time things may have calmed down and the admission refused. Not uncommonly the same crisis will occur within a few hour or days and they are faced with the same dilemma. Being the parent of a child (whatever the age) with mental health issues is exhausting. It requires nerves of steel and perseverance. Well-meaning family members or friends may offer advice that isn't helpful an suggest that you love your child more or kick them out of the house. Neither alternative is the correct answer. However, I have found the following things to be helpful:

  1. Have your adolescent or young adult evaluated by a competent mental health professional. Do this early in the process. Don't wait for the problem to go away.
  2. Establish ground rules for when a hospitalization may be necessary. (e.g. threats of suicide, physical aggression, dangerous behavior that presents a risk to them or family members).
  3. Ask if your police are crisis intervention trained.
  4. Develop a crisis plan.
  5. Safety first.
  6. Eliminate any access to firearms in your home.
  7. Seek professional advice for yourself as parents.  Have someone you trust as a resource when things get difficult.
  8. Keep trying. 
Winning a Due Process Hearing
Our office has hosted two webinars on the nuts and bolts of due process hearings. The third installment will cover what it takes to win a due process hearing. The following are those components that are present in every successful hearing.
  • Qualified expert professionals who are objective, experienced and well-prepared. Often cases are won or lost on the basis of expert testimony.
  • An ability to focus on the important details of your case. Hearing Officers want the essential details and you or your lawyer must be able to articulate what you want.
  • Witnesses who can articulate what you want and why it makes sense educationally and legally.
  • Organization and preparation.
  • A set of facts that is accurate and that aligns with what the law requires. What this means is that no matter how passionate you may be about the merits of your case, the law must be on your side. You cannot win a due process hearing by emotion alone.
  • Case law and statutory support for the position you are arguing.  

New Assessments for Illinois Students for the 2014-2015 School Year: PARCC

During the current IEP season, school personnel have discussed the state-wide assessments that will be implemented for the upcoming school year. This discussion has been prompted by questions regarding measurement of progress for students that is data driven. While the need for objective measurable data has been a key aspect of the IDEA, surprisingly few educators are able to write measurable IEP goals with this in mind.  

I suggest that parents familiarize themselves with these measures by reading 


What is PARCC?

The partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of 19 states working together to develop a common set of computer based K-12 assessments in English language arts/Literacy and math linked to the new more rigorous Common Core Standards. (CCSS).

What types of accommodations will be allowed for students with disabilities for both the performance based assessments and the end of the year tests?  

The draft PARCC Accommodations manual is a comprehensive policy document that will support local educators in the selection, administration and evaluation of accommodations for the assessment of students with disabilities and English learners on the PARCC end of year, performance based and mid-year components. 

How will the tests be accessible to students with disabilities?

The intent is for the PARCC assessments to be administered to all students, except those with the most significant cognitive disabilities for whom the state will administer a modified or alternate assessment. Some PARCC states are working with other consortia to develop tests for those students, and other states are working to develop their own assessments. 

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 


We provide representation in the following Northern Illinois counties:  Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, and Will. Consultations by appointment in our Lisle, IL office.


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


Representation and Consultation
in the following areas:
  • Special Education and School Law
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile and Criminal Law
  • Mental Health and Disability Law
  • Divorce Mediation

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