Working with at-risk children who feel more secure and empowered by your help is rewarding. Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada’s (“LACSN”) Children’s Attorneys Project is an important resource for these kids, and every licensed attorney should take a CAP case. The “child’s team” benefits from involvement of CAP attorneys and the children achieve finality much sooner. Importantly, each child benefits from knowing “You are my lawyer.”
A most cherished CAP client is CK, who was eight when I met him. He and his siblings were removed from his mother’s custody when he was just three years old. By the time I became his attorney, CK’s father had relinquished parental rights and his mother had made little effort toward reunification. It was clear a priority needed to be ensuring CK maintained a relationship with his older siblings, since they were not placed together. I was able to work with the siblings’ CAP attorneys so visitation was not a problem.
CK was a sweet, but slightly rambunctious, little boy with a multitude of mental health and educational special needs. During the three years I was CK’s attorney, I visited him in four separate foster homes. The lack of stability was hard on CK. When I had the serious conversations with him, I could see he was sad and confused, notwithstanding his usual outward presentation of “I’m just fine, let’s play!”
In 2019, DFS found a perfect match for CK. His foster father, DD, wanted to adopt. DD was an educator, active in his church and community, and had the resources to give CK the attention and structure he needed. The placement was such a good fit, the adoption process was seamless. CK was beaming with pride when he told me he was going to stay with his father, DD, forever. When I last saw CK, they were planning a trip to DD’s home town so CK could meet his new extended family. CK was beside himself with anticipation, as this would be his first airplane ride. Watching this little boy find stability and healthy self-esteem was truly a high point in my legal career.
About the author
Michele LoBello is a partner in the law firm Jones & LoBello and has practiced family law for the past 26 years.
About this article
This article was originally published in the “Bankruptcy Law” issue of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (April 2021). See https://clarkcountybar.org/about/member-benefits/communique-2021/communique-april-2021/.
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