What is an “Inspire Article”?
The Inspire category is a way to showcase progress on an issue. These articles consist of positive outcomes on the issue, and can even include case studies of progress on similar issues outside of Palm Beach County – in the hopes we can apply the knowledge, and be inspired to do more!
Legal Aid Society Helps Teen Mom Break Cycle of Dependency
Fourteen-year-old J.S. was a victim of sexual abuse, which resulted in pregnancy, and later, the birth of her son. At only age 17, J.S. had a three-year-old child. Unfortunately, becoming pregnant was only the first of several traumatic experiences for J.S. In the years following the birth of her son, J.S.’s father passed away. Her mother began to abuse her. Before she knew it, she was living in a car with her sister and her son.
When J.S. came into care, most people believed her child should also come into the foster care system. There was a misconception that because J.S. had suffered such abuse, neglect, and abandonment, that she was incapable of providing her son with a nurturing home, especially at such a young age. At this time, the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County’s Legal Advocates for Minor Mothers Project (“LAMMP”) was appointed by the dependency court. At mediation, the LAMMP attorney successfully advocated that J.S. was also a child victim and that given appropriate housing, services, education, and care for herself, J.S. was a great mother to her son. As a result of this advocacy, the petition was dismissed, and J.S.’s son remained with her.
J.S. and her son are currently living together in safe housing. J.S. is working hard pursuing her high school diploma. Through the attorney’s advocacy and J.S.’s hard work as a teen mother, J.S. was able to break the cycle of dependency and continue to raise her son.
LAMMP is supported by Greenberg Traurig, LLP., the Florida Bar Foundation, and is housed and supported by the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. For more information, contact the LAMMP attorney, Ashley Ortagus Wilson, at 561-655-8944, Ext. 113.
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