By David Thomas

Law Bulletin staff writer

Not every client who comes to The Family Defense Center can afford the legal fees it charges to represent children and families who are trying to navigate through the child welfare system.

A $20,000 grant the center received last month will help subsidize lower fees for clients who can’t afford it, said Rachel O’Konis Ruttenberg, the center’s executive director.

“People of all income levels can receive services from us. We charge legal fees for those who can pay,” Ruttenberg said. “Those who can’t — this grant will help fill the gap to allow us to serve more of those individuals.”

The Family Defense Center was one of 34 legal aid clinics in Illinois awarded grants from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation last month. The grants totaled $2.46 million.
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