Asked in Family Law and Juvenile Law for Illinois

Q: Is there a law in Illinios against using a paddle on your teenage child? This paddle is exactly 6"X3".

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. We were told in 11/17 by DCFS that this paddle was legal and even told us as they were walking out the door that we should "buy a bigger paddle." My husband used the paddle once and only two of my three kids (both 14yrs old) were removed. An incident was against him and we are in appeal process. In 11/17 it was completely fine, is there something or a law I am missing?

DCFS of course they are vague and stall any direct questions we ask and we have switched to many different caseworkers already especially in the beginning. We are supposed to have supervised visits and havent seen our kids in just over 4mo. They placed them two blocks from us in a home of someone who does not have a foster licence, have been told by many has been extorting our kids.

Extremely abused by continuances in the court system and verbally by our current caseworker that we have had for 4mo and they havent even come to our home yet. Broken hearted mother*

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1 Lawyer Answer
T. J. Jesky
T. J. Jesky
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: It is a difficult to understand the fine line between legitimate corporal punishment (that is, physically disciplining a child using a hand or foot, switch, belt, or 6 x 3 paddle) and child abuse. Illinois Compiled Statute 325 ILCS 5/3 defines an abused child as one who has had “excessive corporal punishment” upon him or her by a parent. Unfortunately, Illinois law does not further define what constitutes “excessive” corporal punishment, leaving such determinations to the judges and/or juries who hear such cases. Therefore, what one judge or jury considers to be “excessive” under one set of facts may not be considered “excessive.”

What is excessive is determined on an objective standard of reasonableness. Although your intentions may be minimal corporal punishment, others may interpret as excessive. Just because you have chosen a method of discipline that was reasonable does not absolve you from liability. What might be reasonable in your mind, might be excessive in the minds of others. Again, this is a difficult to understand when this fine line is crossed.

Also keep in mind, you might also be charged with battery or domestic battery if state prosecutors do not believe your actions were just your version of legitimate corporal punishment.

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