After graduation from Georgetown University Law Center in 1996, I focused on developing both my skills as a litigator and my knowledge of the broad array of laws affecting children. As a staff attorney for the New Hampshire Public Defender, I developed my skills as a litigator and took a leadership role in enhancing training specific to the representation of children in delinquency cases. I wanted to ensure that new attorneys not only defended their child clients but also sought to understand why they were coming to the attention of the juvenile justice system and take steps to address their unmet needs. In 1999, I became a staff attorney at the Disabilities Rights Center and represented children and adults in disability discrimination cases, including special education cases. In late 2001, I returned to my native state of Connecticut to work at the Center for Children’s Advocacy, a non-profit law office that represents children living in poverty. As the Director of the Child Abuse Project, I represented children in child abuse and neglect cases, provided training and mentoring to new attorneys, and advocated for important systemic changes.
[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”] In 2005, I led a successful effort to reform the way attorneys were appointed to represent children and parents in child abuse and neglect cases, resulting in the creation of the Commission on Child Protection. Later that year, I was privileged to be recognized as one of Connecticut Law Tribune’s Young Leaders in the Law. I owe that honor to the many incredibly dedicated and gifted attorneys who gave me the benefit of their experience in the years following my graduation from law school.
In 2006, I became an Assistant Child Advocate at the Office of the Child Advocate, an independent state agency charged with oversight authority over all state funded services to children. While there, I participated in investigations into the work of DCF and was OCA’s lead investigator in its investigation into the response of DCF and school systems when school employees were accused of child abuse or neglect. Our report led to the passage of Public Act 11-93, closing loopholes in the systems designed to protect children.
With this background, I opened my law practice in 2010, with the intention of providing holistic legal representation to children. Most of my clients are parents of children with special education needs, seeking to obtain appropriate educational services for their children. In these cases, I attend Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings, advocate for appropriate individualized education plans (IEP’s) and appropriate placements, and pursue administrative due process when necessary. But children’s needs don’t end in the classroom. That is why I also help parents navigate other complex state service systems, like the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). When children get into trouble in school or in the community, I can help with expulsion and delinquency proceedings. Lastly, as a Certified Child Welfare Law Specialist, I am there to help parents who are wrongly accused of child abuse or neglect.
I bring my experience and drive to every case. I am centrally located in Cheshire, Connecticut and represent children and families throughout Connecticut. If you are concerned about your child and think you need legal representation, contact me for a free telephone consultation. [/read]