Tyrone’s Story | Legal RepresentationApril 1, 2017
For the entirety of 9-year-old Tyrone’s life, his mother has struggled with addiction. Although she has attended a number of treatment programs, her successes in recovery did not last. Many of her relationships were violent—Tyrone feared for his life, even running away from home to a police station to seek safety. Although he had previously spent two years in foster care and never had a relationship with his biological father, that changed when his mother was discovered on the streets, high on PCP. At that point, Tyrone’s father became more present in his life and sought to gain custody, claiming that the mother was the reason for his absence in Tyrone’s life in the first place.
An attorney from The Children’s Law Center spoke with Tyrone, who was reluctant to provide any substantive information. He noted that when he tells people things about his home life, his mother always finds out and gets upset, so it’s better for him to stay silent.
Tyrone, who had recently been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and ADHD, simply stated that he felt sad all the time.
Faced with a Department of Children and Families (DCF) removal from his mother’s home, the CLC supported Tyrone’s placement with his father, who had been having positive supervised visitation sessions and appeared committed to parenting Tyrone. Initially, things seemed to be going well. While it looked like it would take some time to adjust to the new living situation, both Tyrone and his father were putting in the effort to make things work. Unfortunately, this did not last. Tyrone’s father became verbally abusive and extreme in his reactions to Tyrone’s behavior, breaking Tyrone’s belongings and forcing him to sleep on the floor. Both CLC and DCF continued to try and work with Tyrone and his father, but again these successes were not long-lasting. It had reached the point where it was necessary to remove Tyrone from his father’s home.
Since then, Tyrone has been living with his maternal great aunt. Three of his cousins also live there, and it’s a lively household. Tyrone continues to have complaints about his living situation, but they are typical for a child his age: his aunt is strict, he has to follow rules and there are chores he has to do. Tyrone’s father again has disappeared from his life and his mother continues to work towards sobriety.
Although the outcome of this case is not ideal, it is the best possible outcome for Tyrone at this point in time.
He is able to live in a safe, stable, happy home with his great aunt while also maintaining a relationship with his mother. Once his mother achieves sustained stability, Tyrone will be able to expand that relationship with the potential to move back in with her. This case could have resulted in Tyrone being injured, being placed in foster care once again, or with the termination of parental rights. Instead, Tyrone maintains a relationship with his mother while living in a safe, happy home with his aunt.