Law Office of Janet Langjahr
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Rick and Betty became older parents when they adopted Nancy at four years old. They also adopted her older brother Bobby.|
Nancy's and Bobby's birth mother suffered from mental illness and drank alcohol and used drugs during pregnancy. Both children spent some time in foster care. Both children were scarred, saddled with special needs and brought special challenges.
Each child saw various therapists occasionally and took various medications for several conditions. But they needed more from those professionals and they needed a lot more attention and love from Rick and Betty.
Rick and Betty had not anticipated all those needs or expenses when they adopted their kids.
By the time he was just twelve, Bobby was acting out in socially unacceptable ways. Finally, one day, he turned aggressively on his younger sister.
Rick and Betty were in over their heads. They didn’t want this. So they just threw their hands up and called the police on Bobby.
Inadequately informed, the justice system sentenced this sick boy to a youth camp for juvenile delinquents.
Rick and Betty first came to me while Bobby was in that camp. They were really pleased with how well he was doing there.
But they said their eleven year old Nancy was making Bobby look like a walk in the park. She had violently attacked both of them.
Rick and Betty had called the police on Nancy a number of times already. They were sure that Nancy would benefit from a juvenile delinquents' camp similar to the one that Bobby was in.
When I suggested more therapeutic options for Nancy, Rick and Betty insisted that they could not afford those options.
One thing quickly became clear to me. Nancy needed more than just the lawyer the court had ordered them to hire for Nancy.
Nancy needed a guardian ad litem (GAL), a non-lawyer advocate specially trained to figure out and fight for whatever is in the child’s overall best interests.
Fortunately, the enlightened and compassionate presiding judge granted my motion and appointed a GAL for Nancy, even though Rick and Betty weren’t too happy about it.
Thanks to the GAL and the related cluster of social services professionals advising the court, Nancy is now receiving much needed in-patient treatment at a fine juvenile psychiatric facility. Nancy is making steady progress in her treatment and her future is looking brighter every day.
And the team working on Nancy’s case was even able to ferret out community programs that covered the entire cost of Nancy’s treatment.
Too bad the same can’t be said for Bobby. Since he completed serving his camp sentence, he's gone back to square one. He’s in a group foster home now - when he hasn't run away. If only he had had a lawyer and a guardian ad litem before he went to delinquency camp.
NOTE: Every case is different. Just because Nancy achieved this outcome doesn't mean that your case will.
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