Conflicts Analysis for Children’s Attorneys in Dependency Cases. Martha Matthews, Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles (323) 980-8700 [email protected] Acknowledgements.
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Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles
#1. You represent siblings Michael and Dwight, age 12 and 10. Case was filed one year ago due to drug use and neglect by mother. During first six months of foster placement, boys were moved three times due to behavior problems. Agency then locates father and places boys with him. Six months later, agency recommends closing case with primary custody to father. You interview boys to prepare for permanency hearing.
Michael says father comes into his room at night and touches him, and threatens to hurt him if he tells anyone. Dwight says father is strict but fair, never hits them or touches them inappropriately, and Michael is upset because father makes them do homework and limits TV, and Michael wants to go back to mother where he could do whatever he wanted. What do you do?
#2. You represent Mark, age 17, and Angela, age 2. They are placed together in a foster home. Their mother has long-term, unresolved substance abuse and mental health issues. The agency recommends termination of parental rights and adoption. Mark wants to go home, does not want to be adopted, and does not want to be separated from his sister. He is doing well in school, is in therapy and takes antidepressants, and has a close, loving relationship with Angela. Mark believes he and Angela would be safe with mother, because he can take care of himself and his sister. Angela is also bonded to the foster parents, who want to adopt her and are also willing to adopt Mark. What do you do?
#3 – You represented Katie from age 14, when she was removed from home due to sexual abuse by her mother’s boyfriend, to age 18, when her case was closed. She lived in several foster homes and group homes during this four-year period, got in some trouble for truancy and curfew violations, but graduated from high school and had a job and an apartment by the time she turned 18. Two years later, a case is filed regarding Katie’s newborn child Perry because Katie tests positive for marijuana at the time of birth. Can you accept appointment for Perry?