“We provide high quality legal services to protect children from abuse and neglect and we support our client’s efforts to find permanent families.”
The Children and Families Services Unit provides legal advice and representation to the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services (“Agency”) in all child protection and child welfare matters with the goal of:
- Protecting children at risk of - or who have already suffered - abuse and/or neglect
- Reunifying or finding other permanent families for children within the shortest time possible
We represent the Agency in Juvenile Court, the Probate Court, the Eighth District Court of Appeals, and the Ohio Supreme Court
We are comprised of 23 assistant prosecutors with highly specialized training who provide legal services to the Department of Children and Family Services ("Agency"). Our Headquarters are located at 3955 Euclid Avenue in addition to four satellite locations to better serve the Agency and the community.
We advise and counsel the Agency on a daily basis on child safety and permanency policies and practices and on individual family cases
We zealously advocate in court from the point of seeking protective supervision or custody of children to the point of achieving reunification or another permanency plan and through any appeals. We also:
- Help assure that children are removed only when they cannot remain safely in their home.
- Help set up hearings for parents within 24 business hours for all emergency removals
- Strive to conclude cases within the shortest time possible, to fit a child’s sense of time and urgency.
We advocate for best practice within the Unit, the Agency, the Juvenile Court, guardians ad litem, and the defense bar on behalf of this community's most vulnerable citizens.
We helped develop and administer the Family Drug Court, which has won significant grant support in the past year. Its mission is to provide intensive legal and social services support to parents in drug treatment to help them regain and maintain custody of their children
We work to advance child protection/child welfare law and practice by:
- Participating on a statewide committee that reviews and drafts initiatives on laws and regulations impacting child welfare
- Initiating and defend appeals to establish sound case law precedent
- Supporting the Model Juvenile Court Project in our county
- Developing an effective parent/relative locator section to help the Agency involve more parents and relatives and find more family placements for children
- Leading a committee to educate and alter common misconceptions about fathers’ role and increase fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives and court cases
- Providing training for prosecutor staff, social workers, community partners, and other child welfare stakeholders