CVLS was recently appointed to represent the best interests of a 13-year-old gender fluid child who lived with her father. Because the mother’s parenting time had been restricted for years due to drug addiction and inappropriate behavior, when she first sought parenting time, the Court ordered her to attend reunification therapy with the child. When that failed and the child attempted to harm herself, the Court appointed CVLS as Child Representative, and volunteer Jennifer Friedman stepped in.
At that point, her client was participating in an intensive outpatient therapy program. Jennifer met with the parties and the child, reviewed police and DCFS reports, and spoke to the child’s mental healthcare providers and school staff to determine whether reunification therapy should continue. The child’s father was supportive of the child’s gender identity and actively involved. He encouraged the child to try therapy with the mother, took them to all appointments and enrolled them in various activities like community circus club and juggling.
Ultimately, after an extensive investigation, the volunteer made a suitable recommendation that took into account the facts in the case and the child’s mental health. As the Child Representative, Jennifer not only investigated and advocated for the child, but she educated the parents and the Court on sensitive mental health issues impacting her client.