We Stand With The Children Separated From Their Parents and Here is How You Can Too!

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I have been watching the news, horrified with the rest of the country, watching as immigrant children are taken from their parents at the US Border. Regardless of your feelings about immigration laws and immigration reform, I think we can all agree this practice has to stop and these babies need to be reunited with their families. 

I practice in personal injury and employment law, but watching this crisis unfold I have wished that I was an immigration lawyer so that I could advocate for these children in court. But these children need experienced immigration attorneys fighting for them and getting them back into the arms of their parents. If these children cannot obtain counsel they could stand in front of judges and represent themselves! There are a number of organizations providing legal advocacy that you can support financially. Our office is supporting RAICES, (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense). Below are links to a number of organizations providing legal assistance to immigrant children:

  1.  RAICES Family Reunification and Bond Fund;
  2. Kids in Need of Defense; 
  3. The Florence Project; 
  4. The ACLU; 
  5. The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights; and 
  6. Together Rising Love Flash Mob for the Children

Even small donations help. In addition to financial support, these children need you to let your voices be heard. Contact your representatives to let them know that you oppose the policy of separating children from their parents at the border. If you want to learn more about what you can do in the face of this crisis, please read this article from the New York Times. 

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN. 

Girls Who Read Become Women Who Lead

We are pretty excited here at Ann Brown Legal to be launching our annual charitable initiative we have decided to call Girls Who Read Become Women Lead. Every year we will donate a book that we believe has an empowering message for young girls to each of the elementary schools in the Cedar Rapids Community School District to use in their library. This initiative is near and dear to the hearts of all of us at the firm because we are all avid readers. We are also committed to seeing the girls in our community reach their full potential and believe that providing access to books featuring strong female characters or strong messages for young girls is a step in the right direction.

A recent study conducted at Dartmouth College found that 57% of children's books published in the United States featured male lead characters and only 36.5% featured female lead characters. The researchers found that these disparities "contribute to a sense of unimportance among girls." But many authors and publishers are committed to changing this and Girls Who Read Become Women Who Lead is about making sure that girls in Cedar Rapids have access to these books.

Unfortunately, Cedar Rapids Public Schools are grossly underfunded, which results in limited resources available for expanding, or even maintaining, school libraries. We hope to help in some small way and potentially inspire others to do the same by donating books to school libraries in need.

This year the book we have chosen is Strong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves, by  Kate T. Parker. The book features amazing photographs of girls playing, fighting, living and loving along with powerful messages from each girl. One message from 12-year-old Kylie is: "Some girls never lose. They only learn and come back stronger." We were inspired by the book and reminded just to be ourselves, and we hope that the girls who get to read the book feel the same. 

 

Happy reading to our future leaders!

 

Representing children is not simply representing small adults

Iowa Child Injury Attorney 

It is particularly devastating when a child sustains a preventable injury. Beyond simply the additional tragedy that occurs when a child is injured, there are also additional legal considerations. I have represented many Iowa children, injured because of someone else's negligence and have found that it is critical to thoroughly understand the law applicable to pursuing a claim and obtaining a recovery on behalf of a child. 

One of the first things to understand is that a child cannot bring a lawsuit on behalf of themselves; the lawsuit must be filed by an adult. Oftentimes, the lawsuit is filed by the child's parents, but when that is not possible, the court will appoint a conservator to pursue the child's claim. Parents of injured children have their own claims, called loss of consortium, that are often brought in the same lawsuit as the child's claim. 

Additionally, if the adult bringing the claim on behalf of the child settles the child's claim for more than $25,000, the court must approve the settlement and in part how the settlement money will be spent. It is critical for children who are receiving public benefits like Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps or rental assistance to have their settlement structured in a way that allows the child and their family to retain most benefits. This is also an important consideration if the child has a mental disability and may need public benefits in the future. 

I have found that money obtained on behalf of injured children has often been life changing for those children. For some of my young clients, it has provided the means for a safe and healthy home; for others, it has allowed them to obtain additional services not otherwise available to the child. Pursuing claims on behalf of injured children is absolutely one of the most important things that I do as a lawyer.