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Western Mass project helps parents keep custody of their kids (NEPM)

Below is an excerpt from a July 19 article published by the New England Public Media about a new initiative at Community Legal Aid (CLA) that provides legal support to guardians approached by the Department of Children & Families (DCF). CLA’s Senior Supervising Attorney Madeline Blanchette is quoted.

On an afternoon last January, a 49-year-old artist and mother named Cara was working a warehouse shift, one of two jobs she held to support her family. She was still sharing a house in Greenfield, Massachusetts, with her ex-partner and had left their 4-year-old daughter in his care.

But he got drunk, and Cara — not sure what to do — ended up calling the police.

Cara, who asked to keep her last name private, said she had already been in touch with a domestic violence organization about her ex. After the drinking incident, she said, that organization called the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).

“I thought that when DCF stepped in, that it would be an outside authority that could put this situation in control,” she said. “And it did the opposite.”

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