Newsletter-November, 2014

The Child & Family Law Center of the North Shore

In This Issue
Employment First
Marijuana and Teens
Pipeline to Prison
TASC Leadership Awards Luncheon
Free Webinars presented by The Child and Family Law Center:
Between a Rock
and a Hard Place:
Decision Making for your Young Adult with Mental Health Challenges or Developmental Disabilities

Thursday, November 13 
6:30-7:00 pm

Events and Speaking Engagements 
November 14, 2014

Micki Moran will present an In-Service for Special Education Teachers on "Transition"

Sponsored by 
Charleston, IL

December 10, 2014

TASC Leadership Awards Luncheon
(Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities)

The Westin 
Michigan Ave. Chicago 
11:30 am-1:30 pm 

March 18, 2014

Illinois State Bar Association-Alternative Dispute Resolution  
Micki Moran will participate in a panel discussion for the program:

"Creatively Resolving Disputes for Special Education Hearings under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act"

Chicago, IL    

Is your group or organization having and event?
Email  or call our office at 847-926-0101 with the information and
The Child & Family Law Center will be happy to publish it in our newsletter.
Lisle Office

The Child and Family Law Center is pleased to announce the opening of a branch office in Lisle, Illinois. Attorneys Micki Moran and Joe Scally will meet with clients by appointment at 5950-E Lincoln, Lisle, IL.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 847-926-0101.
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Hello and Welcome.  Each month The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore, Ltd. will provide articles of interest and updates on areas that our office deals with on a regular basis.  We appreciate and welcome feedback, so please feel free to send us an email at with questions or suggestions.
Thank you to all the families, children and professionals who I have been blessed to know.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. 
~Albert Schweitzer~

'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude,  humility, understanding. 
~Alice Walker~ 
Marijuana Use Among Teens:
Yes, it is a big deal

In our office, we see many adolescents and young adults who have been arrested or ticketed or have marijuana use as part of a larger set of presenting problems. Some parents have attempted to rationalize this issue by saying that there isn't anything to worry about since their child is just smoking pot  now and then. Recent research points to the fact that it is in face a serious concern for this age group. The research has concluded that the following issues make marijuana dangerous to adolescents and young adults.
  • This isn't "your daddy's marijuana." THC levels have increased from a mean of 3.75% in 1995 to 13% in 2013.
  • High THC marijuana is associated with paranoia and psychosis, according to a June 2014 article in the Journal of American Medicine.
  • Higher potency may accelerate addiction.
  • Studies revealed that even among casual users, the brain studies showed abnormalities in the shape, density and volume of the nucleus accumbens, which is at the core of motivation, pleasure and pain and every decision we make. (Journal of Neuroscience, April 2014)
  • Evidence of long term effects is building. A study released in 2012 showed that teenagers who were found to be dependent on pot before age 18 lost an average of 8 IQ points by age 38.

 New York Times, November 2, 2014, This is your Brain on Drugs: Studies show that the effects of marijuana on young people may be greater than we thought. 

Pipeline to Prison: Special Education too Often Leads to Jail for Thousands of American Children 


Not uncommonly, a parent will call our office very upset to report that their child or adolescent was arrested at school for a behavioral incident. Occasionally, the issue is a serious one resulting in an injury or a serious safety concern. More commonly, the incident is one where the school district has decided to send a message that this conduct won't be tolerated and the student is handcuffed and put into a police car with the idea of an audience in mind. Policies on when to arrest vary widely from school district to school district. Very often, those arrested are students with a disability. Thousands of children are arrested each year. At least one in three of those children has a disability ranging from emotional disabilities such as bipolar disorder to learning disabilities. Some researchers put the figure as high as 70%. Across the country students with emotional disabilities are three times more likely to be arrested before leaving high school than the general population.  

Often, these students are excluded from school or placed in alternative settings that may or may not be helpful to them. Very frequently, there will be significant disruptions to their education and to their relationships with typical peers. Frequently, they will never return to a regular education building. I had a special education administrator describe the placement of students in alternative schools as being subject to the "Hotel California" effect. This refers to the lyrics in a song by the Eagles that goes as follows:

Last thing I remember, I was

Running for the door

I had to find the passage back

To the place I was before

"Relax," said the night man,

"We are programmed to receive.

You can check-out any time you like,

But you can never leave!" 

This treatment by the education system is also fueling the school to prison pipeline.

After an arrest, many students lose valuable learning time and fall even further behind while others become a frequent fixture in juvenile courts and a patchwork system of detention centers, youth jails and alternative schools for education. A 2006 study found that for all students, a first-time arrest during high school nearly doubles the odds of a student dropping out, while a court appearance nearly quadruples the odds. 

TASC Leadership Awards Luncheon

If you had a chance to read the October, 2014 Newsletter, you've already learned that I support an organization called
TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities). TASC helps people with substance use and mental health disorders get into treatment. 
While we often like to think that addiction and mental illness are the types of problems that other people have, there is a heroin epidemic sweeping through our region. Our local Fox affiliate recently reported: "Heroin-related deaths in Chicago have actually declined, yet they're up by 200% in the suburbs. DuPage has tallied an average of one heroin death every 8 1/2 days since the start of 2012." 
Not long ago, a 15-year old from Bartlett named John Dudek died from a heroin overdose. John, or Johnny as he was called, left behind his parents and three siblings. Fifteen is too young to die for any reason, and the fact that it was addiction that took his life, and is taking the lives of so many, is horrifying. Lest we take too much comfort in the fact that Nolan McMahon, the person who allegedly sold Johnny the drug, is in custody, it's worth noting that he's a teenager himself--18 years-old. 
Addiction isn't just affecting other peoples' families and kids. It's after your kids, and it has to stop. 
I'm serving on the event committee for TASC Leadership Awards Luncheon, on December 10, 2014, at The Westin, Michigan Ave., Chicago. I am looking forward to the program for this event. TASC is honoring State Senator Mattie Hunter who has been an important ally for TASC on many legislative issues, as well as Steve Pemberton, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens. Steve grew up in abusive foster care situations because of his parents' addictions, and his story reveals the impact of addiction on entire families. In addition, TASC will premiere a brief video about their work with youth and the foster care system. It should be an engaging luncheon. 
TASC ensures that when someone commits a non-violent crime because he or she is addicted or mentally ill, that person has the opportunity to get treatment. Locking people up doesn't help with these conditions. In fact, abundant research indicates that it makes them worse. Please join me in supporting TASC so that together we can stop the heroin epidemic. 
You can make a tax deductible donation to TASC, learn more about, or register for the TASC Leadership Awards Luncheon by clicking here.
Thank you for your consideration.

My Best,

The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore is a unique legal practice that specializes in providing legal services to families and children in the areas of special education, IEP consultations, divorce and custody, parenting agreements, mediation, guardianship and juvenile law, including criminal law, DCFS and mental health. Where possible, we have initiated flat fee billing for appropriate matters.


The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore 

1950 Sheridan Rd. - Suite 201

Highland Park, IL 60035 


We provide representation in the following Northern Illinois counties:  Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, and Will. Consultations by appointment in our Lisle, IL office.


For more information about The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore, please call 847-926-0101 or visit our website at  


Representation and Consultation
in the following areas:
  • Special Education and School Law
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile and Criminal Law
  • Mental Health and Disability Law
  • Divorce Mediation

Micki Moran
The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore