Baltimore Sun quotes Legal Aid expert

After a mother stabbed her 8-month-old daughter at a social services office, The Sun interviewed Maryland Legal Aid chief attorney Joan Little, who runs the Child Advocacy Unit in Baltimore.

The nonfatal assault on the foster child  raised questions about safety issues “where tense, emotional meetings between parents and their estranged children are routine,” wrote reporter Peter Hermann.

“‘These are difficult situations,’ said Little, an attorney whose staff represents children in welfare and neglect cases. ‘We want to promote family visits. It is so tough when a security situation like this happens.

“‘Normally, everyone would be supporting more contact between children and parents, and not restrained contact.’ The idea, she added, is for the ‘mother-baby visit to be personal enough that it can support the bonding that is supposed to be happening.

“Little, whose attorneys visit the East Biddle Street building at least once a week, said it would be counterproductive for a security guard to attend each meeting,” Hermann wrote. “But she would support it when violence is a part of a parent’s history.

“Little said she feels safe in the building. She said there is a metal detector at the entrance, and she has seen guards going through purses and checking IDs, though not every time.

“‘It’s not like airport security . . . ‘ she said. ‘I don’t feel that it’s a dangerous environment. But certainly we’re dealing with parents who have significant mental health problems, and significant drug problems. On any given day, anything can happen.'”

To read the entire article (behind a pay wall), click here.


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