Child Justice is one of the few groups solely dedicated to ensuring a child’s right to be legally protected from an abusive parent.
We work with well-respected law firms to provide legal services that protect children “lost in the system” after exposure to family violence, physical and or sexual abuse, substance addictions or neglect. Pro Bono attorneys working with Child Justice provide abuse victims with highly skilled legal services for lower court and appellate court cases. These free legal services help to keep children out of the hands of their abusers.
And our work doesn’t stop there: Child Justice court-watches hearings and trials, coordinates and signs on to Amicus Curiae briefs in state, federal and U.S. Supreme Court appeals, connects attorneys with experienced legal mentors, supports attorneys in litigation by providing information, legal research or referrals to experts, refers protective parents to community resources, and offers emotional support for the non-offending parents or relatives.
We stand with our clients from the moment we take on the case until we feel confident that the family is safe and free from harm.
Recent Case Studies:
“Lou” was verbally and physically abusive to his four children. After he separated from his children’s mother, “Jane,” they were understandably resistant to seeing him. But Lou was persistent—and so was his attorney. Lou’s attorney persuaded a judge to switch custody to him, then sent the children off to a “deprogramming” center in California. There, the center’s staff used various methods to pressure the children into believing that they had nothing to fear from their dad. The children remained strong in their support for their mother, but because Jane had no attorney and no money for an attorney, Lou retained custody. Child Justice found pro bono counsel for Jane, who successfully fought to win the children back. Today, Lou continues to harass and abuse his ex-wife in the courts by filing unnecessary motions. Meanwhile, Child Justice keeps watch over this dangerous situation while grateful in the knowledge that, without our intervention, Jane and Lou’s children would still be in grave mental and physical danger.
Abused as a child, “Sandra” rebounded from one controlling marriage into another, having a child with each. The men presented serious problems: One abused Sandra’s son. Another was a long-time illegal drug user. Then Sandra’s worst nightmare came true: The fathers contacted one another, became friends and resolved to take the children away from her. For a time, they were successful. Then Child Justice intervened, finding Sandra pro bono counsel who helped her regain custody of her youngest son, and establish unsupervised visits with her older son. Sandra has now become an advocate for public policy changes in children’s rights law, frequently lobbying on Capitol Hill. And because abusers rarely stop, Child Justice continues to provide Sandra with emotional support and pro bono counsel for her case.
JOSHUA & MATTHEW
Despite a history of domestic violence against his ex-wife, “Amy,” “David” fought for and received custody of the couple’s two sons, “Joshua” and “Matthew.” While the children were in his care, David used a large, heavy barbecue spatula to beat Matthew, then 12 years old, on his buttocks, leaving enormous bruises. Yet Child Protective Services ruled out abuse, and Matthew remained with his father. David once beat Joshua so badly, he fractured his son’s nose and left bruises all over Joshua’s body. This time, David was arrested, charged and tried. But when Dan argued that he was using reasonable corporal punishment, the jury agreed and found him “not guilty.” At this point, Amy contacted Child Justice and was connected with pro bono counsel. Because of the tireless efforts of Child Justice, Amy regained custody of both children. Today, both children are thriving, and Joshua recently started college.
Seven-year-old Jessie confided in her mother, Kathy, that the child’s father, Bob, was touching her inappropriately. Jessie recounted several instances where her father had made her undress or feel uncomfortable. Later, relatives and close friends relayed their own concerns about how Paul touched children and stroked their hair. Child Justice connected Kathy with pro bono counsel who fought for a protective order against Bob, and eventually succeeded in securing a ruling that Paul’s visits should be supervised. Luckily, Bob never fought for those visits. Today, all three of Bob and Kathy’s children are happy learners in school, volunteer in Guatemala over the summers, and are developing into strong, confident young people.
JILL & JAMES
Alexis feared her husband Andrew was sexually abusing their daughter, Jill. One night, Jill’s brother James saw their father take his sister into the bathroom and lock the door, while Jill screamed and cried. Andrew’s abuse of James was of the physical kind. James once called the police after Andrew beat him up, but Andrew convinced the police his son was lying, and was never charged. The situation changed after Child Justice got involved. With the help of pro bono counsel, Andrew was only allowed to see the children he abused under supervision. After several months, he told the children he didn’t want to see them anymore and ceased contact. Today, things have changed dramatically for Jill and James, who are honors students at their colleges and young leaders who have begun to speak out against abuse and violence in their communities.
As a three year old, Susie was terrified of her father. She even indicated to her mother that something had happened to her private parts. Yet when contacted, Child Protective Services ruled out sexual abuse, and Susie’s father maintained visitation rights. Then Susie attended an assembly in which her classmates were told that if anything or anyone made them uncomfortable, they should tell a guidance counselor. Susie found a counselor and confided that her father had been touching her private parts. This time, CPS believed Susie. Susie’s mother, Abigail, successfully filed for and received a permanent restraining order against the father. Despite the father initially winning his appeal, Child Justice’s pro bono counsel fought hard and protected Susie. Today, free from contact with the person who violated and terrified her, Susie has blossomed in every way.