Where Families Come First!

The Center of Law and Social Work (CLSW) has been preserving families, providing hope and protecting lives throughout the State of Illinois since 2003. Our mission is to achieve the best outcomes for families, young adults, and children by providing the highest quality services. In the beginning, CLSW focused on providing legal assistance for the growing population of grandparents raising grandchildren.


Each year, CLSW strategically expanded its legal and social services. Today, CLSW manages the Adoption Listing Service for the State of Illinois and provides relative, non-relative, second parent, step-parent, adoption services as well as DCFS foster parent adoption and post adoption services. In addition to our DCFS funded services, we offer all of our private legal and/or social services on a sliding fee scale based on income.


In 2017, CLSW acquired Porchlight Counseling Services and added specialized sexual assault therapy to our array of crisis counseling services programming. PCS has existed to help college sexual assault survivors achieve healing and wholeness and to create a world in which a person’s life is not defined by the devastating experience of sexual assault. The program provides counseling, advocacy, and other supportive services to the survivors of campus sexual assault, with the goal to provide high-quality, long-term counseling at no charge to the client.


The Center for Law and Social Work believes that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their religion, beliefs, age, gender, race, disability or sexual orientation. The Center for Law and Social Work is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

CLSW Video

2019 Impact Award Recipient: Pamela Sherrod Anderson

We are proud to announce our 2019 Impact Award Recipients, Pamela Sherrod Anderson and Julie Smolyansky! Pamela Sherrod Anderson is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, journalist, educator, and playwright. Pamela is an adjunct professor at DePaul University, where she has taught Documentary Producing, Film Distribution and Exhibition, Feature Writing, Introduction to Media and Journalism, and developed a Special Topics Course on Race and Community Conflict. Pamela’s films have been shown at festivals across the country and have been selected for the City of Chicago’s Movies in the Parks program and the Best of the Black Harvest Film Festival. In her latest documentary, The G Force, Pamela accurately captures the joys and struggles of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. The film features our CEO, Dr. Maria Nanos, and highlights the important adoption and guardianship services we provide.

2019 Impact Award Recipient: Julie Smolyansky

Julie Smolyansky became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm when she took over Lifeway Foods at the age of 27 in 2002. As President and CEO, Julie has continued the company’s growth trajectory with creative product development and marketing. She has expanded distribution throughout the United States, Mexico, the UK, and Ireland as well as portions of Central and South America and the Caribbean. Julie has produced several documentaries, including “The Hunting Ground,” a 2015 film about the incidence of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States and the failure of college administrations to deal with it adequately. In 2013 Julie co-founded a non-profit, Test400k, an organization dedicated to advocating ending the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the United States.

We are proud to honor these two remarkable women who are providing hope and making a difference!

Adoption Listing Service of Illinois

CLSW is home to the Adoption Listing Service and Inquiries Unit, a program of DCFS.

To learn more about the Adoption Listing Service of Illinois, contact Sandra Casillas at 800-572-2390.