Posts Tagged: Your Lawyer and You

In My Corner – My lawyer believed in me even when my family didn’t.

Most people I come in contact with have horrible stories about their lawyers. Not me. I had a good experience with my two lawyers, Charlyne Peay and Sharon Yoo. They were from the Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project, an effort to connect parents with mental illness to private practice lawyers who volunteer to represent them in child welfare proceedings.

In Good Hands

In my case, I didn’t have the right to a … Read More

Coerced In Court – I wish I’d never let the court find me guilty of neglect.

Illustration by Erika Faye Burke


I was raised to have pride in who I am and stand up for what I believe. Standing up in court to admit that I neglected my children, I felt like everything I knew to be true and right was thrown out the window.

As the judge looked at me and said, “I strongly suggest you plead guilty,” I broke down and cried.

My lawyer put her head down and told … Read More

The Person Behind the Petition – Getting the court to see beyond stereotypes.

When parents go to court, they often feel that their voices are not heard. They’re afraid of the power that the court has over them. They have to put all their trust in their lawyer, a person they may be meeting for the first time. They feel stripped of their whole identity—other than the stigma that goes along with having a child welfare case and the stigma that comes with being poor, a minority, lacking … Read More

Compassion in the Court! – Model courts find that supporting parents can strengthen the whole family.

Child welfare cases are heard in courts because parents and children have legal rights, and the role of lawyers and judges is to protect those rights. But in a typical court case, when one side wins, the other side loses. In child welfare, that’s not the case. When parents lose, children lose. Children and parents both do best when children can safely return home.

With that in mind, the Model Courts project of the National Council … Read More

‘I Used to Be in Your Shoes’ – As a parent advocate, I help lawyers and parents connect.

Illustration by Karolina Zaniesienko

I am a parent advocate at the Center for Family Representation (CFR) in New York City. CFR provides parents in child welfare proceedings a lawyer, social worker, family advocate, and parent advocate to support them.

Parents whose children were removed and put in foster care often feel like they can’t trust anyone. Many parents are victims of childhood abuse or domestic violence; some use drugs to deal with their pain. They’re … Read More

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