A few days ago, I walked into a room full of young adults who had spent time in our foster care system, including some who had emancipated after many years. Entering a room full of folks who have experienced our foster care system personally is a familiar situation for me, and it’s one of the greatest privileges and joys of my job.I meet and speak with as many young people and parents with lived experience as possible.In fact, this group was the second group of young people I had meet with that day.
In looking around the room, I realized that I knew nearly all of the young people in the room.I mean Ireally knew them - Kayla, Joshua, Diego, David, Leroy, Scout, Lupe, Eric-lee and so many others.I had met these people on multiple occasions. We had been in meetings together, attended the same events, and had lots of conversation.I had heard their stories, been in photos together, and befriended many on social media (the only reason I stay on social media).I even mentor one of these y…

A System In Need Of Umpires

A Song for Families

A Song for Families

An episode of NPR’s all-songs-considered has been stuck in my head for the past week or so. I listened to it on the drive back to DC from the holiday weekend.The theme was anthems.It was fascinating.The hosts discussed the contexts in which the songs were written, how each came to be known, what they represented and why they warranted anthem status.They explored how anthems can celebrate, commemorate, or question if America is living up to its ideals-- and how each type was inherently patriotic.The Star Spangled Banner headlined, but the hosts soon turned to “This land is our land,” “Blowing in the Wind”, “Born in the USA”, “Fight the Power” (both versions) and a couple others.They unpacked the songs.Some were controversial.Some were misunderstood.All are emblematic.
Guthrie sang to the dangers of economic disparity.
Springsteen called us to do better by veterans.
Dylan questioned the prudence of war.
Public Enemy spoke for racial justice.
A favorite artist of mine, Josh…

Family Defense Lawyers as Relationship Builders


Two years ago, I was successful in clearing my name with the New York State Central Register (SCR).The SCR is a database of those determined by a state child welfare agency, but not necessarily a court, to have committed child abuse or neglect of children.If you are on it, you are in the same company as pedophiles, rapists and murderers of children.My name had been in that database for 10 years.
It wasn’t on my radar to do this until my youngest son told me he wanted me to clear my name.What?I was not going to relive something that happened over ten years ago.The thought turned my stomach.Kicking up emotional dust from the past can make you sick.
It was bad enough that I walked around with what felt like a brand on my chest—invisible perhaps, but searing, and I felt as though people could see it.Ten years ago – in the middle of a bitter divorce – my husband called in a false allegation against me—I ended up with child welfare and criminal court cases. Even though both cases were dismiss…

"Successful" Child Welfare Lawyers