Youth Advocacy and Post-Emancipation Services

Youth Advocacy Services

Any youth in need who has or may have an open case in the Child Protection Division of Cook County and who is not sure of the name of the assigned attorney and guardian ad litem (GAL) can contact the Reception Desk at the Juvenile Division at (312) 433-4300 or leave a message toll-free at 1-800-461-6341. Youth represented by the Office of the Public Guardian will be connected to the assigned attorney/GAL to provide needed advocacy.

Know Your Rights

  • If you are not living with your brothers and sisters, you have the right to see them at least twice a month with some limited exceptions.
  • You have the right to be at every juvenile court date.
  • You have the right to a free public education that fits your needs. If you need support, you are entitled to special education services.
  • You cannot be deprived of planned visits to see or speak to your family as punishment.
  • You have other rights! Talk to your attorney/GAL to learn more.

DCFS Youth Hotline

Did you know that DCFS has a youth hotline available to older youth? The purpose of the hotline is to handle complaints, concerns, inquiries and suggestions made by DCFS' teen clients. The hotline can be contacted when a youth is having trouble with his/her assigned agency. According to DCFS, the advocates working the hotline can help transfer a case from one agency to another, if doing so is in the client's best interest, and assist in obtaining services from the current agency. The phone number is 1-800-232-3798. The hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Placement of Youth Age 18 and over with Unrelated, Unlicensed Caregivers

Children over the age of 18 may be placed with unrelated, unlicensed caregivers, if the caregiver passes a safety check conducted by the child's caseworker. If the placement is approved after the safety check, the caregiver shall receive a monthly payment equal to what an unlicensed relative caregiver would receive. You may also be able to arrange with your caseworker a Placement Alternative Contract.  Contact your caseworker or attorney/GAL if you have questions.

Post-Emancipation Services

  • As of January 1, 2010, there may be a way for a youth whose case has closed to get assistance from DCFS.  Youth may be able to get help from DCFS if they are a former ward and not yet 21, and the youth’s case closed, or if the case closed before the youth turned 18 and the youth was legally emancipated.  In these situations, DCFS may be able to help with: housing; job training and career counseling; education, including college and specialized career courses; medical coverage and health care; counseling; and food, clothing and other basic needs.  DCFS also may be able to offer assistance without having the court case re-opened.  A youth may also be able to receive services from DCFS if the court re-opens the case.  For more information, contact the Office of the Public Guardian at (312) 433-4300, or the DCFS Supporting Emancipated Youth Services Program at (866) 459-6884.  More information is also available at the DCFS website.  Click the “Get Goal’d” box on the right side of the home page, and then click the “Supporting Emancipated Youth Services Program” link on the top of the page.
  • Many DCFS youth who age out of the system at age 21, and youth facing hardship after adoption or guardianship subsidies end at age 18, are faced with a lack of available resources and support. Additionally, many of these youth seek additional guidance in pursuing their individual goals, or need assistance on a variety of matters. Recognizing the needs of former clients, the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian has developed a network of agencies, individuals, service providers and other resources for those who need assistance after case closure. Although resources are extremely limited, at times, just having someone available to answer questions, help problem solve, and point young people in the right direction can improve an individual's long term outcomes.

    Youth seeking post-emancipation support can contact the Office of the Public Guardian by calling (312) 433-4300 or toll-free at 1-800-461-6341, or by e-mailing


Success Stories

Juvenile Success Stories Juvenile
Success stories regarding our juvenile clients Read more
Adult Success Stories Adult
Success stories regarding our disabled adults Read more

What's New Read more

New Policy and Legislation Cook County Public Guardian Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Children Left Languishing in Locked Psychiatric Facilities Read more
New Policy and Legislation Acting Public Guardian Quoted in ProPublic on Issue of Youth Abused in Psychiatric Hospital Read more
New Policy and Legislation Acting Public Guardian Quoted in Chicago Tribune on Issue of Priest Financially Exploiting Parishioner Read more
New Policy and Legislation Cook County Public Guardian Announces First Issue of The Advocate Newsletter Read more
New Policy and Legislation New Policy & Legislation
Recently passed laws of interest to those representing disabled adults and abused & neglected children in Illinois.
Read more Adult Juvenile
Current Developments OPG Appellate Developments
Recent Appellate and Supreme Court decisions Read more

Youth Advocacy &
Post-Emancipation Services
Important information for current and former clients. Read more
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