July 12, 2019
Children's Law Center attorney Aida Vindell has firsthand experience with family separation. When she was just a toddler, she was separated from her brothers as a civil war raged through her native Nicaragua. They were eventually reunited in the US, but it was a challenging time for her brothers, her parents and Aida herself.
Now, Aida represents the best interests of children in foster care. Often, that means working to reunify children with their birth parents.
This month, the American Bar Association's (ABA) Center on Children and the Law named her a Reunification Hero in recognition of Aida's tenacious advocacy and success reunifying families.
During her interview with ABA, Aida shared about one particularly tricky situation:
I had a case where, for about seven months, a young child was removed from his parents. The family was from another country--a country the child welfare team didn't know much about. Since the team wasn't familiar with the family's culture, they didn't understand the country's childcare practices. Those traditions were critically important in both understanding the reason the child was removed from his family, in addition to the steps that needed to be taken to successfully reunify the child with his loving parents.
It was clear that there was more to the story than what we could see at the surface level. My colleagues at CLC--a social worker and an investigator--were extremely instrumental in helping me break through the existing barriers for reunification.
While considering the best interest of my client, we interviewed the family to develop an understanding of their culture. Additionally, we worked with universities that researched how families in the client's country raised children, and we recorded the parents practicing their culture. I was then able to present the research and findings to both the child welfare agency and the child's medical team. This evidence made it clear that we could partner with the parents to address the original concerns to then successfully reunify my client with his family.
They are doing well now and raising a sweet, healthy child.
This story demonstrates what we know about Aida--she never backs down from a challenge when it comes to doing what's best for a child.
Please join us in congratulating this tenacious, creative attorney.
At Children's Law Center, we see firsthand that children do best if we can address the root cause of abuse or neglect and reunite them with their birth parents. Sometimes, a parent just needs the right resources to be able to care for their children. That's why our first goal is always reunifying a child with their parents whenever it is in the child's best interest to do so.