Isabelle’s Family Reunites

Imagine being in the comfort of your home with your two small children when Child Protective Services (CPS) suddenly arrives and removes them from your custody. They arrive without serving you with papers or explaining what gives them the power to remove your children and English is not your first language. The children are then placed in foster care with strangers and are without their mother for the first time in their lives. This is the experience Isabelle* endured just before turning to Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) for help.

Fortunately, our Family Defense Unit (FDU) immediately conducted an intake with our multidisciplinary team consisting of a lawyer, supervisor, social worker, advocate and translator. While working collaboratively with the client's service providers and the Department of Social Services (DSS) to gather information on Isabelle's history and care of her children, the FDU team quickly created a strategy to defend against the removal and reunite the family.

Despite a Judge's initial decision to uphold the CPS removal, our appellate attorney worked on crafting a solid appeal of the decision. Our social worker worked alongside the attorney during court appearances to ensure that Isabelle received the additional services needed and provided emotional support, guidance and coaching to her.

Shortly after, DSS offered to return the children to Isabelle immediately, and their 32-day separation finally ended. Isabelle's family was reunited and will enjoy the holiday season much like the rest of us, TOGETHER.

Thank you and happy holidays from Legal Services of the Hudson Valley!

For many families, this is their favorite time of year – a time to gather and create new memories. This year, we'd like YOU to be a part of those memories. Your generosity has helped LSHV maintain the basic needs of our clients and keep families, like Isabelle's, together. We hope you will be generous again and match or exceed your previous donation to help our Family Defense Unit fight to prevent painful family separations. Together WE can reunite parents and children throughout the Hudson Valley. Donate today, and help us bring families together this holiday season!

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*The names and identifying characteristics have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.

LSHV’s 2022 National Pro Bono Week Awards Ceremony

During our first in-person Pro Bono Awards Ceremony since 2019, we recognized the incredible efforts of the following individuals:

Honorable William Edwards, Mount Vernon City Court (Posthumously)
James Garfein, Esq., Principal Settlement Coordinator, 9th Judicial District (Retired)
Kempshall C. McAndrew, Esq., Litigation Associate, Cuddy & Feder LLP
Andrew D. Cohen, Ph.D., Counsel, Patterson Belknap
Christopher Conroy, Esq., Attorney, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
Sara A. Maldonado, Esq., Senior Associate, WilmerHale

It was a wonderful evening celebrating some of the amazing people who have made a tremendous impact on underserved residents of the Hudson Valley!
Pro Bono volunteers and advocates are essential for providing legal assistance to help LSHV bridge the justice gap between the number of people that come to us for aid,
and the amount of cases LSHV’s staff can handle.

The Pro Bono Department recruits private attorneys and law firms to volunteer their time and expertise to help support LSHV’s mission. Please join us!
To learn more about the Pro Bono Department, LSHV volunteer opportunities, and to view more photos of the event visit:

Her role models are her grandmothers, who both stood for what’s right. They were loyal to their family and friends, and both conducted business professionally, honestly, and with integrity. They were both strong and independent women and always put family first.

"As a Paralegal, I feel that I win every day. I am happy with the work I do. I enjoy helping others; I love working with my colleagues and the work environment in the office. I continue to challenge myself to learn and improve what I do every day. To me, those are personal “wins.”

Find out more about this Champion in Justice here: