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When Aiden was 10 years old, he was brought into the child protection system because the police learned his mother had physically abused his younger brother. After the initial report of abuse, the police discovered Aiden and his brother had more than 30 visits to the emergency room; a number of these visits were believed to have resulted from previous assaults by Aiden’s mother. By age 10, Aiden had experienced physical abuse, neglect, and prenatal exposure to drugs. Despite these obstacles, Aiden is a bright boy with strong opinions about the people he wants in his life and an understanding of which relationships are unhealthy.

Aiden and his brother are especially close, but when he was removed from his home and placed in foster care, he was separated from his brother, which made an already difficult situation more stressful. Children’s Law Center (CLC) was appointed to represent Aiden’s interests at the initial emergency removal hearing. When first meeting with his CLC attorney, Aiden was adamant that he did not want to return to his mother. He wanted to live with his brother’s father whom he considered to be a father to him. Aiden and his stepfather already had a longstanding and close relationship.

Aiden’s mother opposed any of her children being placed with Aiden’s stepfather, but CLC stood by Aiden’s side to make sure his voice was heard in Court. CLC argued that under the law, Aiden’s brother’s father was considered a relative, and Aiden had a right to be placed with family and his brother.

When Aiden encountered obstacles to being placed with his brother at his stepfather’s home, his CLC attorney was there with the know-how to push through the obstacles and make sure Aiden was informed and involved throughout the process. Over the objection of the county, the judge placed Aiden with his younger brother at his stepfather’s.

Aiden is now happily and permanently living with his brother, stepfather, his stepfather’s wife, and their children. In his current home, Aiden is safe, nurtured, and able to contact other extended family members without fear. His family encourages Aiden’s interests and talents and ensures he has opportunity for community involvement through camps and sports. Cases like Aiden’s remind us that children should have a voice in the proceedings that affect their lives, and CLC attorneys are there to ensure their voices are heard.