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Story of Justice: Children Escaping Abuse

Story of Justice: Children Escaping Abuse

Background

The attorneys in the Legal Aid Children’s Advocacy Project work very hard to ensure that their clients have the very best legal representation possible. The nature of the work is particularly challenging because the clients are children. LAS attorney Elizabeth Suttle recently handled a case that literally changed the trajectory for the young children she was representing.

The Challenge

LAS attorney Elizabeth Suttle recently handled a case that literally changed the trajectory for the young children she was representing. Ms. Suttle had developed a very good attorney-client relationship with the children in the case and they were able to feel safe talking with her about ongoing abuse they were being subjected to in their home.  Up to that point, the children had declined to tell anyone for fear of upsetting their mother and possibly being subjected to more abuse. Ms. Suttle filed an Emergency Motion to Modify the placement of the children into foster care, which resulted in a very contentious hearing where Ms. Suttle was the only attorney arguing for the change of placement.

Initially, everyone was against Suttle and the children. Upon hearing testimony form the children, the Judge and the other parties began to understand what was going on. When the mother began cursing and became physically violent in court, requiring deputies to restrain her, the Judge granted Ms. Suttle’s Motion and placed the children into foster care.

Assistance

Initially, everyone was against Suttle and the children. Upon hearing testimony form the children, the Judge and the other parties began to understand what was going on. When the mother began cursing and became physically violent in court, requiring deputies to restrain her, the Judge granted Ms. Suttle’s Motion and placed the children into foster care. The other parties and the Judge thanked Ms. Suttle for her advocacy. 

Why it Matters

During a recent visit, one of the siblings who rarely spoke opened up to thank Ms. Suttle for keeping her safe and helping her get to a safe foster home. This is just one example of how the attorneys in the Children’s Advocacy Program protect the children we represent. It also is a reminder to adults to listen to children when they talk about their lived experiences.  

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*Names and images have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients

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