Meghan is looking out for the children she works with. As a staff attorney in our Juvenile Rights Practice, she is a voice for young New Yorkers in need. But still, even she cannot handle every issue that her clients face alone. Thankfully, Meghan works alongside a dedicated team of social workers to offer the essential services that these young New Yorkers need. By working with social workers like Deb McGee, Meghan helps improve the lives of her clients.
Keeping A Family Together
In a recent case, Meghan and Deb teamed up to make a lasting difference for two young New Yorkers. For more than two years, Meghan fought for these children, working on their behalf to reunite them. It all started in 2016, when these two children were removed from their mother for neglect. At the time there were no resources available to keep the kids together so they were separated. Then, suddenly, the children’s mother and paternal grandmother who was caring for one of the children unexpectedly passed away within 24 hours of each other. In an instant, these children’s world was changed forever. Although ACS found appropriate homes for each of the children, they were separated.
Out of a devastating tragedy came an opportunity for these children to grow up together in the same home. The younger child no longer had any living relatives and was placed in non-kinship foster care; however, the older child had gone to live with her godmother. Meghan knew right then that this was an opportunity to get these children back together, but she had to act quickly. So, with the law on her side and with Deb’s tireless help, Meghan pushed to bring these two siblings back together under the care of the godmother of one of the children. Bureaucratic red-tape and other obstacles made reuniting these siblings a considerable challenge. She and Deb worked around the clock for months trying to push the solution through the system. Deb, even while on vacation in Europe, promptly responded to emails and text messages during their clients’ first hearing. After many months of fighting, Meghan and Deb successfully had the two children reunited with the godmother. “Because of our work,” Meghan says, “these siblings now get to grow up together.”
A Comprehensive Approach
As Meghan will be the first to say, it’s cases like these that highlight the strengths of The Legal Aid Society’s long standing use of interdisciplinary collaboration and the importance of our work. Working alongside Deb, Meghan could now provide comprehensive representation to her clients. “I needed someone who was really involved, who could ask the right questions and provide guidance on attachment issues and the importance of the sibling connection,” Meghan explains. “I needed someone who could field all of the issues that I couldn’t anticipate coming up that were outside of my legal expertise.” And in the end, it’s this type of collaboration that helps give our clients the best possible results. “There are so many needs that our clients have and only a small part of those are legal issues.” Thankfully, Meghan and Deb are working together to meet every single one of those needs for young New Yorkers.
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