Frequently Asked Questions about the Social Service Department

Learn more about the Social Service Department and how to navigate the Circuit Court of Cook County. 

Frequently Asked Questions

    A casework officer is the job title the department gives to its probation officers. A casework officer develops and implements an individualized supervision plan for each offender. The casework officer determines the frequency of contact and the degree of services based on the conditions and penalties imposed by the court and a thorough assessment of the offender. These assessments include severity of the current offense, prior offenses, if any, history of substance abuse, mental health issues, employment, education, and family situations.

    The DUI Victim Impact Panel is a one time awareness program ordered by the court for offenders who have been convicted of misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or other drugs. The panels consist of a non-confrontational presentation by trauma/crime victims telling their own personal stories of how impaired drivers forever changed their lives. The panel presents a unique perspective to the offender that is often overlooked. There is a fee for offenders to attend this panel.

    Yes, it is.

    Yes, it will remain on the official court record unless you are eligible to request that your case be expunged, or deleted, from the official court record. If your court supervision is satisfactorily terminated by the judge, you are eligible to apply to have the record related to your case expunged from the official record one year later. You should contact the clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County for expungement procedures and costs. If you do not apply for expungement, the official court record will show that you were sentenced to a disposition of court supervision.

    If your supervisions is terminated unsatisfactorily by the judge, you are not eligible to have the official court record expunged.

    You should immediately call your casework officer to reschedule a missed appointment. Failure to do so can result in your case being violated.

    If you miss a court appearance, contact your casework officer and request a check of the status of your case with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. You will then be instructed on the best way to proceed to bring your case back before the court.

    If an offender does not comply with the conditions of the court order and the requirements of the Social Service Department, his or her case will be returned to court for a violation hearing. At this hearing, the judge determines if the case should be continued to allow additional time to achieve compliance (this could be due to unforeseeable circumstances), or determines that the offender is indeed in violation of the original court order. If the offender is present in court, the judge makes a decision at that time. If the offender is not present in court, a warrant may be issued for the offender’s arrest.

    Yes, regardless of the type of sentence you are serving, you must contact the Social Service Department immediately. Failure to do so may cause you to miss an appointment, payment, or court date, which can violate your case.

    The first thing you need to do is notify your casework officer of your recent arrest. Regardless whether you choose to tell your casework officer, your new arrest will become apparent within a short period of time when your casework officer conducts the routine arrest checks on all offenders. It is in your best interest to contact your casework officer as soon as possible. Your casework officer will then prepare notification to the court of your new arrest and will set a court date for you to appear on a violation of your sentence. The judge will make a determination based on the circumstances of your arrest.

    Before you make any travel arrangements to travel outside of the State of Illinois, you and your casework officer will need to file a motion before the court to request permission to travel. You will need to provide where you are planning to travel, the dates of travel, where you will be staying, and the reason you wish to travel. The judge will make a determination regarding your travel plans.

    How do I . . .

      Visit the Illinois Secretary of State's website for information on how to apply for a new license or renew your current license. 

      Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website to request a copy of a birth certificate.

      Visit the Social Security Administration website to learn if you qualify and how to apply to receive Social Security disability benefits. 

      Visit the Social Security Administration website to request a new or replacement Social Security card or report a stolen Social Security number.

      Learn more about expunging your record on the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County's website. Addition resources, including help desks, are available for both juveniles and adults.

      Learn more about the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County and access court information and online services on the Clerk's website

      Request a copy of your criminal history from the Chicago Police Department or Illinois State Police.

      Learn about the benefits available to veterans and how to access veteran services on the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs website

      Find out if you qualify and how to access public assistance:

      File an unemployment claim and access additional unemployment services on the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

      Visit the Illinois State Police website to review state laws and statutes and the process for registration.

      Visit the Illinois Department of Corrections website to learn how to contact IDOC by phone, mail or email or use their online contact form. Additional resources for IDOC can be found here