Children's Advocacy Rooms
Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  Who is accepted into the Children’s Advocacy Rooms?
A.  The following are accepted: children whose parents or guardians have been summoned to appear before the court, children who are witnesses in a court proceeding, children whose parents or guardians are conducting other court business and children of empaneled jurors who have no other recourse for child care. However, jurors must receive permission from the trial judge.

Q.  Is there a fee for using the Children’s Advocacy Rooms?
The services of the Children’s Advocacy Rooms are offered by the Office of the Chief Judge free of charge to parents or guardians with court business.

Q.  What are the age requirements for a child to be admitted in the Children’s Advocacy Rooms?
A.  Children from infants to 16 are admitted to the Children's Advocacy Rooms located in the Domestic Violence Courthouse in Chicago as well as in suburban courthouses at Bridgeview, Maywood, Skokie and Rolling Meadows. Additionally, infants and children in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services or a representative agency are accepted in the Children’s Advocacy Room at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center for family visits supervised by a caseworker.
Only children between the ages of two (2) and 12 who are toilet trained are admitted to the Children's Advocacy Rooms in the Richard J. Daley Center, the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and the Sixth Municipal District courthouse in Markham. The Children's Advocacy Room at 69 West Washington Street for the court's Family Mediation Center accepts children between the ages of 2 and 18. 


Q.   If my child has been diagnosed with autism, ADHD or other condition, will the Children’s Advocacy Room accept my child?
A.  Yes.  Children with autism, ADHD or other diagnoses may be admitted into the Children’s Advocacy Rooms. Trained staff is available to attend special needs children.  When checking in, it would be extremely helpful for parents and or guardians to check the appropriate boxes pertaining to behavior issues, special needs/fears, restrictions, allergies and food concerns to allow staff to better care for each child.


Q. Are the Children’s Advocacy Rooms open on the weekend?
A. No.  The Children’s Advocacy Rooms are open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. When court cases are extended, staff is available to attend children.


Q. How does one apply for volunteering and what is the age requirement to volunteer in the Children’s Advocacy Rooms? Also, are the Children’s Advocacy Rooms available to organizations that would like to perform team/community projects? What are other requirements for volunteering in the Children’s Advocacy Rooms?
A. Individuals interested in volunteering may complete a Children’s Advocacy Room Volunteer Application at any Children’s Advocacy Room. The Volunteer Program is inactive during Covid-19.  Also, applications are available at the receptionist desk and from the director of the Children’s Advocacy Rooms Program located at 69 W. Washington, Suite 3300, Chicago, Illinois 60602.  Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.  Exceptions are made for church groups with youth programs teaching children to give back to the community. These groups must have supervisors to accompany the youth and to oversee art and craft projects they bring to perform with the children. Corporations wishing to perform community service hours for team building may also apply.

All employees and volunteers must undergo a background screening including supervisors.


Q.  Are jurors permitted to use the Children’s Advocacy Rooms?
A.  Yes and no.  The primary purpose of the Children’s Advocacy Rooms is to serve children of parents or guardians having business with the court which requires their presence for court proceedings. Persons summoned as prospective jurors are expected to make prior arrangements for the care of their minor children elsewhere.  However, if an empaneled juror’s good faith efforts to make prior childcare arrangements have not been successful, then the judge presiding at trial may approve the admittance of a juror's child or children into the Children’s Advocacy Rooms. The large number of jurors called to serve on any given day prohibits the routine admission of all children of jurors. 

Q.  If a child is in protective custody, is it possible to register her or him into the Children’s Advocacy Rooms?
A. Yes.  Children who are in protective custody may be admitted into any Children’s Advocacy Room of the Circuit Court where safety measures are in place. The only person able to visit or sign a child out is the parent or guardian that registered the child. Exceptions are made when a judge rules otherwise.


Q. Is the Children’s Advocacy Room available for lactation (breastfeeding)?
A.  Yes. However, out of the ten (10) Children’s Advocacy Rooms, lactation (breastfeeding) is not available in the following Children’s Advocacy Rooms:  Richard J. Daley Center and Family Mediation Center at 69 W. Washington.

Q. When a parent has court business and a child has a fever or other illness, will the Children’s Advocacy Rooms accept the child?
A. No.  In keeping with providing a safe environment for all, children with a temperature, head lice, ringworm, measles or other childhood illnesses will not be admitted into the Children's Advocacy Rooms.

Q. Is the Children's Advocacy Room in the Leighton Criminal Court Building at 26th and California available to parents/guardians who are visiting someone who is being held in the Cook County Jail?
A. No. The Children's Advocacy Room is not available to parents/guardians who are visiting someone who is being held in the Cook County Jail, regardless if the detainee is a significant other, spouse, family member, or friend.


Q. Can a parent or guardian leave children in the Children’s Advocacy Rooms if they have no paperwork to prove they have court business?
A. No. If they are not listed on the daily court call, it is mandatory that a parent or guardian presents proof of court business at intake. Parents or guardians conducting court business with the State’s Attorney or Clerk’s Offices, as well as Social Service or Probation Departments must be given a Children’s Advocacy Room (CAR) Referral Form. The CAR Referral Form must be completed by an employee from one of these departments and presented to CAR staff at intake. 

Copyright 2020 by Circuit Court of Cook County