J.M.'s Story

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

J.M.'s Story

Tales of a Child Representative

Lindsay Weinberg, Adoption Specialist at Adoption Center of Illinois Family Resource Center

When Jeremiah was six months old, his parents started fighting. Just before his first birthday, he suffered domestic violence. By three years, he was the subject of a contested custody case.

In Cook County, if two parents cannot agree on how to parent their child, the Court can appoint an attorney to advocate for that child’s best interests – a Child Representative. The judge appointed CVLS volunteer Lindsay Weinberg for Jeremiah.

Although her first Child Rep case was shaping up to be a difficult one, Lindsay is not one to back away from a challenge. Aided by her social work background, Lindsay assessed the family’s mental health issues, contacted healthcare providers and teachers, investigated the home environment, and secured low-cost therapeutic services for the child.

Parsing through conflicting information and allegations of abuse, Lindsay represented Jeremiah’s best interests in court and mediated with the family. As his advocate, she sought community-based services, kept a keen eye on his progress in school and fought for his best interests in court for more than fifteen months.

Throughout her representation, Lindsay focused on protecting the child from further trauma and on rebuilding his relationship with his parents. “I have always been passionate about advocating for children and ensuring that they are in safe, loving homes,” said Lindsay.

“Volunteering as a Child Representative for CVLS was a great supplement to my current position at the Adoption Center of Illinois at Family Resource Center where, although the best interests of children are our primary concern, I generally only work with parents. This provided me with a long-term opportunity to advocate on behalf of a specific child while forming a relationship with his family.”

Jeremiah is now five years old. His parents were able to settle their differences and resolve their custody case. Thanks to Lindsay, this child enjoys a good chance of living a safe and happy life while spending time with both of his parents.