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Case Histories and Articles

Navigating the Maze

A GAL was appointed for a 4 year old child in a third party custody matter with a grandmother seeking custody of the child from the mother. Both grandmother and mother made allegations of abuse and neglect of the child by the other. The GAL learned of a family system with multiple generations of chemical dependency, mental health, domestic violence and criminal activity concerns. The GAL made extensive and ongoing recommendations for services for the grandmother and the mother, as well as the child, and remained active in the case until the parties demonstrated change. The judicial officer noted that the GAL assisted the family “through a maze they would never have been able to navigate themselves” and concluded that as a result of the changes made by the mother and grandmother, the child “has a fighting chance at a future.”


Third-Party Custody

A CHIPS petition was filed due to an 8 year old child having no supervision and being involved in drug and criminal activity. The child held her mother as she died of a drug overdose the previous year. The GAL disagreed with the Agency’s choice of placement for the child and successfully argued that that the deceased mother’s husband’s mother (Grandma) would be the safest, healthiest placement option and serve the best interest of this child as they had a deep bond (3rd party with psychological relationship - nonrelative). The father was in and out of treatments and prison during the CHIPS and contact between child and father were attempted with poor results. The child confided to the GAL that she wants to live with her Grandmother and Dad can go do his bad stuff without me. The GAL requested visits cease and case proceeded to permanency for child and grandmother. This child graduated from High School last year and sent the GAL a graduation invitation with a note that said, “I would not be alive today if you had not been in my life and helped me. I can’t thank you enough.”


Recognizing Alternatives

A child attempted to shoot his parents and a law enforcement officer. The weapon discharged but was taken from the child without further incident. A CHIPS petition was filed and he was also criminally charged with five felony terroristic/weapon charges. In researching the background on this child the GAL discovered that two months prior the child had a car accident in which he hit his head on the steering wheel, he also had three concussions from football and there had been a dramatic change in his personality and actions recently. The Judge was receptive to the GAL’s request that the child have a diagnostic assessment that specifically addressed for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). After the assessment, hours of therapy and half a year in a structured re-programing environment this child successfully returned to his parents, school and community. The Probation Office for the criminal case was open to allowing Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction (EJJ) for this child with a chance for him to have all 5 felony charges dismissed when he turns 21 if he remains law abiding. The child will graduate school this year and has expressed his gratitude to the GAL for believing in him and helping him get his life back.


Newspaper Articles

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