Fighting for Families and Youth
Changing the System
Case Summary: In re Jaurelious G.
CFR rejects the tendency of government actors in large systems—such as the New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)—to paint with too broad a brush. One size does not fit all for CFR’s families, and each family should be treated specially and its strengths recognized. As in the Jayvien E. case, ACS alleged that the children of our client Gwendolyn J. were neglected merely because she suffered from mental illness. At trial, the attorney from CFR’s family defense team was able to show that despite Gwendolyn’s challenges, her children were well cared for at all times. The case was dismissed on the merits. ACS appealed and sought a stay of the dismissal, an action that resulted in our client’s three children spending a longer time in foster care. CFR defended the dismissal in the appeal, which resulted in the appellate court agreeing that there was no judicial mistake: The children were healthy and well cared for by Gwendolyn, and the trial court was correct to dismiss. This case reminds us that people with frailties such as mental illness are capable of being safe and caring parents and have the right to raise their families free from government intrusion.