Child Care In The Courthouse

 

The Children’s Advocacy Rooms provide free, on-site child care for children whose parents or guardians must attend court to protect children from being exposed to potentially traumatic courtroom testimony or behavior.

The rooms are welcoming environments that are cheerfully decorated and child-centered.  Staff are experienced professionals in early child development who are trained to respond compassionately to children whose experience with the court can involve highly charged emotional issues.  Volunteers and interns assist staff in the supervision of the children. 

An array of books, toys, games, movies, and other activities give children of different ages the freedom of just being children as their parents or guardians attend court.

Every child admitted to the Children’s Advocacy Rooms is provided with routine childcare services. This includes age and developmentally appropriate activities. The use of play, conversation, art and other forms of self-expression is used to divert attention to a more positive frame of mind. Snacks are provided based on the dietary needs of the child.

Each Children’s Advocacy Room has a Parent Resource Center with brochures and pamphlets provided by social service and other outreach agencies.  For families in need of further counseling or refuge from domestic violence, staff also make referrals to community organizations.

The Children’s Advocacy Rooms also benefit parents and guardians and the court system as follows:

  • Parents or guardians are able to focus solely on legal matters.
  • The judiciary and court staff are better able to address cases that involve children without their presence in court.
  • Parents or guardians have peace of mind knowing they do not have to leave their children unsupervised in corridors of the courthouse.

The Children's Advocacy Rooms Program of the Circuit Court of Cook County was awarded the 2002 Urban Innovations in Illinois Award.

Copyright 2014 by Circuit Court of Cook County