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Children’s Law Center Success Story 4

The Children’s Law Center at Kids’ Voice was able to research and give important information that allowed the aunt of a 15-year-old girl to obtain legal guardianship for a 15-year-old girl.

Debbie contacted the Kids’ Voice Children’s Law Center to obtain information on how she could be appointed legal guardian of her 15-year-old niece, Victoria, who lived in Michigan. Debbie was employed as an admitting clerk at a local hospital. Debbie was not eligible for free legal services from a legal services provider due to the provider’s client income limits established by the federal government, but she did not earn enough money to hire a private lawyer to represent her in petitioning to be appointed guardian of Victoria. Victoria’s parents were awaiting sentencing for their convictions for manufacturing and selling methamphetamine, and wanted Debbie to be guardian of Victoria. Victoria was in agreement that Debbie should be her guardian while her parents were in prison.

From her interview with Debbie, Derelle, the Kids’ Voice Children’s Law Center attorney, learned that the parents were married and determined that a legal guardianship was the appropriate legal proceeding for Debbie to initiate according to Indiana law. Derelle also determined that the Interstate Compact on Children’s Placement did not apply to Victoria’s situation, so there was no legal reason why Debbie could not bring Victoria to Indiana with the consent of Victoria’s parents. Derelle referred Debbie to the Kids’ Voice website, www.kidsvoicein.org, and helped Debbie find the information, forms, and instructions so that Debbie could file legal documents to be appointed guardian of Victoria in the Marion Superior Court, Probate Division. After reading the website materials, Debbie again called Derelle, who answered Debbie’s additional questions about the guardianship process. Three weeks later, Debbie called Derelle to report that she had been appointed legal guardian of Victoria, had enrolled Victoria in school, and that Victoria was adjusting well to Debbie’s home.