Keeping Family Bonds Strong Throughout Incarceration
Due to Lily’s long incarceration, it had been years since she and her nine-year-old son Omar had seen each other. Omar had been living with a cousin.
When Lily’s parents went to court to seek legal guardianship of Omar, Lily reached out to Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) for help and guidance. CGLA appeared in court and sought an attorney to speak to the child directly to make sure that he was safe and happy and to ensure he could have a relationship with his mother.
Once Omar was able to speak to a guardian ad litem, he revealed that his cousin had been beating him, and that he desperately wanted to live with his grandmother. He also discussed how badly he wanted to see his mother. CGLA supported Omar’s grandmother in obtaining guardianship, as well as entering a court order for Lily to have ongoing in-person and phone visitation with her son.
Just a week after court, Omar and his grandmother took the Reunification Ride bus to visit Lily, just in time for Christmas. Omar was overjoyed to see his mother, smiling the entire time.
Now Lily and Omar are in regular contact, both by phone and in-person. Omar is safe from abuse and both he and Lily are receiving regular counseling. CGLA provided access to justice for a family impacted by incarceration.
Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) has been a grantee of the IEJF since 2006. The IEJF currently funds CGLA’s criminal records, family law and civil asset forfeiture work. CGLA was established in 1973 to serve legal needs arising from the lack of opportunity, criminalization of poverty, and racial inequity experienced within the Cabrini Green community. Since then, CGLA has grown beyond a single neighborhood to become a citywide, countywide, and now recognized statewide leader in supporting low-income individuals negatively impacted by the criminal justice system. CGLA proactively fill the void of legal representation, wraparound services, and advocacy for individuals affected by the criminal justice system.