Jennifer is a volunteer caregiver with a local nonprofit. In that role, she provided care for Joshua – sometimes full-time – for two years. Jennifer had a strong, positive relationship with Joshua and his mother.
One particularly busy Saturday, Jennifer made a quick trip to the store and decided to take Joshua at the last minute. While at the store, Jennifer forgot that Joshua was in the backseat of her car for about 15-20 minutes.
She realized her mistake upon returning to the car.
It was a mild day; Joshua was unharmed and greeted Jennifer with a friendly “hi!” when she got back.
In response to this incident, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigated and indicated Jennifer for child neglect. This meant that Jennifer was no longer qualified to volunteer to support Joshua and his family – harming Joshua more than anyone.
Ascend Justice accepted her case.
With help from a pro bono attorney, Jennifer’s team successfully advocated with DCFS to voluntarily unfound the case without the need for a full expungement hearing. This meant that this single accidental incident was not going to define Jennifer’s ability to continue to be a caregiver and cleared her name so she could continue her work as a volunteer caregiver.
Jennifer provided the following about her experience with the Ascend Justice Family Defense Division and her pro bono representation:
“To say you have all been helpful is a huge understatement. I cannot adequately express my thanks and gratitude for each of you and what you so selflessly did and the time you gave on my behalf. This has been the most difficult year of my life, and the support, kindness, and encouragement I have received every step of the way from every person I ever spoke to at Ascend Justice gave me strength when I needed it most. Even if things had not gone ‘our way’ I would still be so thankful and blessed to have had you walking alongside me through it all. What you are doing for individuals and families at Ascend Justice and through the pro bono program is wonderful and important work. I (and my family!) am eternally grateful to and for you. Thank you.”