Circuit Court to partner with suburban schools on behalf of abused and neglected children

Released On 11/13/2001

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans and Child Protection Division Presiding Judge Patricia Martin Bishop have announced the Child Protection Division and the Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education will hold a presentation on education issues concerning abused and neglected court wards for officials of suburban public schools. The half-day presentation entitled Developing a Partnership for Children will be held Thursday, November 15, 2001, at Proviso West High School in Hillside, Illinois.

"The purpose of this program is to begin a dialogue that will lead to a partnership between the court and suburban public schools to improve educational opportunities for children referred to the Child Protection Division attending school in suburban Cook County," said Chief Judge Evans. "The court wants to provide suburban children with the same level of coordination on educational issues that is available to court wards attending public schools in Chicago through the court's productive partnership with the Chicago Public Schools," Chief Judge Evans explained.

Presiding Judge Patricia Martin Bishop said, "Our goal is to provide every child who enters our court with the tools to reach his or her potential. Education is a fundamental tool to enable a person to overcome adversity and to achieve success."

Martin Bishop continued, "The Child Protection Division had enjoyed remarkable success in locating safe, permanent homes for abused and neglected children." She noted the Child Protection Division has emerged as a national leader due to intensive reform efforts.

Between 100 and 150 individuals representing approximately half of Cook County's 143 suburban school districts are expected to attend the program, including principals, administrators, teachers and social workers.

The program will feature the following speakers: Candy V. Cash, Ph.D., assistant regional superintendent, Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education; Georgia Edwards, consultant and facilitator, Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education; Presiding Judge Patricia Martin Bishop; Alisa Rannachio, regional counsel, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; Alfreda L. Austin, supervising attorney and assistant deputy, Office of the Cook County Public Guardian; and Dr. Sharon Freagon, director, Educational Access Project for DCFS, Northern Illinois University. Topics will include the court process and the responsibilities of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Office of the Public Guardian toward abused and neglected court wards.

The Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education serves as a liaison agency between the Illinois State Board of Education and local suburban school districts. The grant-funded agency provides mandated education services to the 143 school districts in suburban Cook County.

Presiding Judge Martin Bishop thanked the Child Protection Advisory Work Group and its School and Court Support of Teens Subcommittee for their assistance with the program. The Child Protection Advisory Group is composed of representatives of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Office of the Cook County State's Attorney, the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian as well as the legal and social service community.




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