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6/18/2019

What Defines Success for Child Welfare Lawyers?

A year ago, I received an unexpected message on Facebook. It read: “Man we miss you how have u been. We were so devastated when u left.”

Of course my curiosity compelled me to respond immediately.

Child Welfare

5/13/2019

Can We Walk You Home?

Throughout the evening, the three brothers described to me the years of abuse they experienced in foster care. They were made to stand in the corner of rooms for hours. They were forced to clean every dish in the house, if one was dirty.

Family

3/18/2020

A Crisis Reveals the Need to Modernize Juvenile Courts

This week, I received word that many courts – including the juvenile court in which I practice – were closing. That is, for the indefinite future, my court would not be holding any hearings, other than emergency hearings, to address whether a child needs to be removed for their immediate safety.

Child Welfare

2/14/2019

In Court, Children are Unseen and Unheard

My 16-year old client – a young woman who had already spent several years in foster care – just wanted to share her story in court. She hoped to tell the judge the ways in which group home staff were mistreating her.

Child Welfare

3/28/2019

Your Crisis Can Wait Until Noon

The teenage boy stared at the judge, with a face struggling to hide its emotion but clearly displaying sadness. For weeks, he had been staying at a residential foster care facility and had been getting in trouble.

Adoption
Vivek Sankaran

3/12/2019

The Outdated Way We Think About Relationships in Child Welfare

At a recent meeting I attended, a foster parent described her role as being a “co-parent” with the birth parent to raise a child in foster care. That is, she envisioned that her job was to temporarily help care for the child – with the birth parent – while doing everything in her power to support efforts to reunify the family.

Child Welfare

2/4/2019

Michigan Quietly Embraces Unlicensed Kinship Caregivers

In 2003, I was assigned to represent five young children in foster care who had been placed in a group home in Maryland. During my first visit with them, they told me how much they wanted to live with their grandmother, a delightful, gregarious woman with a big smile who was deemed appropriate by everyone who met her.

Child Welfare

10/14/2019

I’m Sorry We Failed You

I turned on my computer to start my day’s work when a reminder popped up on my screen. Today marked the birthday of Alonzo, a child I had represented many years back when he was a 9-year old child in foster care.

Child Welfare

10/12/2020

Ginsburg’s Child Welfare Legacy: Attention to Parental Rights

The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had many gifts, one of which was using language to convey the harsh impact of the law on those living on the margins. Consider her words in M.L.B.

Child Welfare

9/16/2020

The Looming Housing Crisis and Child Protection Agencies

A few weeks ago, my client, a mother in a child protective case trying to regain custody of her children, informed my students she had lost her housing and was now homeless.

Child Welfare