Your support funds Children’s Legal Services grants that:
“It’s one of those things that you can’t believe is happening to your family.”
Teen twins Hope and Quincy’s mother had been arrested for aggravated child abuse, and the twins were now involved in a criminal case against her and a dependency case.
Their great aunt and uncle, Melissa and Eddie Whitted, had finished raising four of their own children when they were confronted with this family emergency in 2018. Melissa’s great niece and nephew were the victims of severe physical abuse
at the hands of their mother.
Melissa immediately knew that she wanted to take in the twins. But she didn’t know the legal system.
What would follow were too many court dates to count and laws and legal terms to understand.
“She was a lifesaver. She made things much easier for us.”
Then, Melissa, Hope and Quincy met Ronnie Syme, a staff attorney with Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association. Syme became their guardian ad litem in both cases.
As the twins’ guardian ad litem, Syme advocated for a protective injunction against their mother’s paramour, who had neglected to report the abuse.
She helped ensure that services were provided to the Whitteds and the children, and ultimately was successful in advocating for the termination of parental rights which led to the successful adoption of the twins by Melissa and Eddie.
And, in the criminal case, Syme was able to ensure that both the mother and her paramour were prosecuted for their actions.
With a lawyer’s help, Hope and Quincy could focus on their future.
Now seniors in high school, Hope will be attending the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and Quincy plans to attend the University of West Florida in the fall.
Civil legal aid lawyers help our state’s most vulnerable children. You can help them by supporting the Children’s Legal Services fund.