Keeping Moms With Their Newborns: A Team of Washington Lawyers and Advocates Works to Avoid Foster Care Separation at Birth

When Jennifer Justice went into labor with her fourth child in 2020, she was determined that child protective services would not take this baby away.  Two of the Washington mom’s older sons lived with their grandparents, and social workers had removed her third child shortly after birth due to her opiate addiction. After the courts terminated Justice’s parental rights to that child, she had plunged into a deep depression, lost her job and then her home.  This birth, however, would be different. Justice had started drug treatment and someone new was by her side: a lawyer. “When the social worker first came in, and I tell her, ‘I have an attorney,’ their whole demeanor changed,” Justice, now 38, recalled. “I felt protected, I felt like I had arms around me and my child.”