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KYLP should never have to turn away a client due to a lack of funds.

A message from Keith D. Elston, KYLP Legal Director:

When his mother developed cancer, 10-year-old Joel (name has been changed to protect his privacy), a sweet-natured African American child, was thrust into being the primary caregiver for his five younger siblings. When his mother passed away last fall, Joel and his siblings were placed with a foster family in Central Kentucky, but because Joel had just come out as gay, the foster family said they didn't want him.

Joel was then placed in a residential treatment center almost 100 miles from his siblings and didn't have the ability to communicate with them for months. The judge who was overseeing his dependency case, was concerned that his sexual orientation combined with some hygiene and incontinence issues, as well as a high risk for suicidal ideation, that arose from the trauma of losing his only parent, were factors that were making it difficult to find an adoptive home for him, and she contacted the Kentucky Youth Law Project for assistance.

The judge appointed me to act as Special Guardian ad Litem to advocate for Joel in his Dependency case. Reading through his case file, I don't mind telling you, nearly brought me to tears as I reflected on the loss this child had already experienced: the loss of his only parent, the loss of his siblings, the loss of his extended family, the loss of his home, and the loss of his childhood. Could he withstand too many more losses in his young life?

Whenever there is a client assigned to a KYLP attorney, I have to consider what the costs of taking the case will be. In most cases, there will be costs to photocopy case files and legal documents, costs for researching legal issues, costs of travel, meals, and occasional overnight accommodations if the case requires the attorney to meet with our client in a remote location. In some cases, there are also the costs of filing a lawsuit on behalf of our client, the costs of serving the defendants, the costs of investigating and deposing witnesses, the costs of hiring expert witnesses, and the costs of purchasing transcripts of the depositions and court proceedings. All of these costs can mount up over the course of litigation.

KYLP attorneys never charge a fee for our services. Our clients frequently believe that they have no access to the courts to resolve their issues and access is almost always determined by how much money it costs.

That's why we are working to establish a litigation fund that will be used exclusively to pay the costs associated with representing our clients. We strongly feel that we should never have to turn away young clients in need of legal services because of a lack of funds.

I am happy to report that, in Joel's case, working in concert with his other Guardian ad Litem, his social services worker from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and others, we were able to identify a same-sex couple in Central Kentucky who had several other foster and adoptive children and would provide an understanding and permanent home for Joel. He is doing very well now, is able to visit with his siblings, and his new family looks forward to the day when they can adopt him and give him that forever family he deserves.

Please consider becoming a Litigation Fund Sponsor. Your donation is tax-deductible, and your gift will be used 100% for representing our clients.