In 1995 my children were taken by D.S.S. In 2009 my 16 yr. Old came back into my life against D.S.S wishes. My 16 yr. .old had a lot of anger ( very understandable). And caused slot of problems. She and her friends attacked me. I was arrested and D.S.S. Took my then four year old stating that I will fight her as well .then came there five unsupported 51A's. The lawyer I had told me that because I have a record D.S.S sees me as unfit to raise my daughter
Family Law Attorney
First, it is not clear to me why your child was taken away from you in 1995 and then why YOU were attacked, YOU were arrested, and YOU were convicted for the attack. Second, it is not clear who filed the 51As that you claim were unsupported. You may not officially be entitled to this information, but you may be able to determine based on the nature of the complaint the identity of the complainant so at the very least you will need to obtain copies of the reports associated with the 5 complaints. The identity of the reporter is not essential, but the information provided in the reports against you and the fact that the reports were found to be "supported" is very important.
You have two choices: 1) You can try to challenge the information contained in the DCF reports and try to explain your reasons for why you have a record and how DCF acted wrongly; or 2) you can admit to some or all of the allegations and will need to prove how you have changed (e.g. anger management classes, psychologist, psychiatrist, parenting classes, drug program).
Unfortunately, both of these options will not produce overnight results. Option 1 sounds like it would be a severe uphill battle based on the removal of your child in 1995, your conviction, and subsequent five complaints filed with the 51A that were investigated and were found to be supported by documented evidence or the testimony of others. Option 2 will most likely produce results if you are improving your life. Such results may be slow such as eventually beginning with supervised visitation, then short unsupervised visitation, etc...
Unfortunately, either way your case is going to involve a substantial commitment by an attorney over a long period of time. If you are lucky, you could find an attorney who will take your case for free or at a "reduced fee," but I think that it is more likely that you will need to take your case on by yourself. If you do so, credibility with the judge is the most important aspect of your case. You will need to be honest, concentrate on the positive aspects of your recovery and show patience with the judge and avoid any outbursts in court.
Without looking at the reports or getting more details from you and the reports, I am not sure I can advise you which course of action to take
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4 lawyers agree
Child Abuse Lawyer
Why do you no longer have "the lawyer that I had"? If DCF still has your younger child, your case should still be in court and, if you are indigent, you should still have a court-appointed lawyer. Just because your lawyer told you that "because I have a record D.S.S. see me as unfit" doesn't mean that the lawyer is not willing to fight with you to get your daughter back.
Attorney Davidson is right that it is going to be an uphill battle either way. I do not know of any lawyers who take these case pro bono - they are much too time consuming for that. On the other hand, the lawyers who take these cases on a court-appointed basis are required to keep up-to-date on the law and zealously represent their clients. You should work with your court-appointed lawyer.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
I do not know of any attorneys who would take on a case like this pro bono. If you are indigent you are given a Court appointed attorney. If you have had a breakdown in communication with that attorney and do not believe they are zealously advocating for you then you can request a new attorney to be appointed on your behalf.
The Court appointed attorneys in Massachusetts are often of extremely high quality and you should be able to get a good lawyer to help you fight what appears to be an extremely difficult case. I wish you the best of luck in this matter.