Deb is making a difference for young New Yorkers. As a Social Worker in our Juvenile Rights Practice, Deb is part of an interdisciplinary team representing children, adolescents, teens and young adults. While the Attorney on Deb’s team focuses on resolving the legal issues of their shared clients, Deb ensures the needs of her clients are being correctly identified and addressed by connecting them with the services and supports they need to thrive.
Keeping Families Together
In early 2018, Deb teamed up with attorney Meghan Cuomo to make a lasting difference for 2 of Legal Aid’s youngest clients, a little girl and her baby brother who were living in separate homes following the sudden death of their mother. After many hearings and conferences, motions and meetings, Deb and Meghan were able to secure the unification of sister and brother under one roof where they can grow up together.
The story of the little girl and her baby brother began in 2016, when the children were removed from their mother due to allegations of neglect. At the time, there were no resources available to keep the kids together, so they were placed in separate homes. The young girl went to live with her Paternal Grandmother, while the baby boy was sent to a non-kinship foster home. In early 2017, the mother of the two children and the grandmother of the little girl both passed away unexpectedly within 24 hours of each other. Overnight, the little girl became her baby brother’s only living relative.
Deb and Meghan know that siblings in foster care do best when they grow up together, so while Meghan filed motions and made arguments in court requesting the unification of her young clients in the same home, Deb advocated for the same outcome with officials at the Administration for Children’s Services and the respective foster care agencies responsible for each child.
A Life-Long Victory
Working alongside each other, Deb and Meghan pushed to bring the little girl and her baby brother together under the care of the girl’s Godmother. Deb even worked during her vacation, sending emails and texts from five time-zones away. Deb recalls that she and Meghan both “spent so much time living and breathing this case” to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.
Finally last month, after years of fighting bureaucratic red tape and obstinate government agencies, Deb and Megan successfully achieved the goal of uniting their young clients in the home of the little girl’s Godmother who plans to adopt both children. After 16 years as a Social Worker at The Legal Aid Society, Deb “knows how the system works” and is happy she can use her experience to make a lasting difference in the lives of her clients.
Want To Join The Fight?
With your help, Deb and her colleagues can make equal justice a reality
for even more New Yorkers in need.