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A Day In The Life

Keeping Siblings Together in the Juvenile Rights Practice

While Staff Attorneys like Meghan Cuomo in our Juvenile Rights Practice focus on resolving the legal issues of our clients, Social Workers like Deb McGee ensure clients are connected with the services and support they need to thrive as a person.

In early 2018, Attorney Meghan Cuomo teamed up with Social Worker Deb McGee to make a lasting difference in the lives of two of our youngest clients—a little girl and her baby brother who were living in separate homes following the sudden death of their mother. The story began in 2016 when both 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.

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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. Even while on vacation in Europe, Deb 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.”

Because of our work, these siblings now get to grow up together.”

Working alongside one another, both Meghan and Deb could provide comprehensive representation to their 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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