Legal Aid attorneys were quoted in two different articles related to D.C. poverty law last week.
The first was a piece in the National Law Journal discussing a D.C. Court of Appeals decision from earlier this summer in a contested adoption case in which Legal Aid submitted an influential amicus brief. In that case, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment granting custody of two children to their foster family. The foster family, with whom the children had been living during the pendency of the custody litigation, were awarded custody over the children’s aunt, whose adoption request was supported by the biological parents. The case was remanded for further proceedings with instructions for the trial court to give “weighty consideration” to the biological parents’ preferred caregiver. Legal Aid’s brief supported the aunt and biological parents, highlighting in particular the fact that the law currently does not allow a party to appeal a permanency goal change—here, from reunification to adoption—which would have allowed the Court to review this decision much earlier in the life of the case. Jack Keeney, Jr., who was quoted in the article, blogged about the case last month.
The second piece was a post on the Blog of the Legal Times discussing the many effects of the federal government shutdown on the low-income clients of D.C.-based legal services providers. In the article, Legal Aid staff attorney Maggie Donahue describes a situation where one of her housing clients was placed at risk of eviction because she could not make rent payments while furloughed. She observed, “People forget that many workers affected by this shut down are low wage workers, often supporting families on a single paycheck, who may face devastating consequences—like eviction from their homes—if they don't get their paychecks on time.”