by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
For many who have gotten involved in drugs and had their children taken away from them by the state, it may seem like ever regaining custody of them is hopeless. A law in Illinois, however, is allowing former drug-addict parents that turn their lives around to once again have custody of their children under certain conditions. According to The Root, “CNN is reporting that a woman who lost her children while battling an addiction to crack cocaine has regained custody of them after being drug-free for seven years.”
Yolanda Miller is her name, and all eleven of her children were removed from her custody by the state. The good news is that they were placed in the care of her mother, and she was able to live next door where she could remain close to her kids. At some point in this span of time, Miller was able to overcome her drug addiction. The Root reports, “Miller says, God literally stopped her in her tracks, and she quit smoking crack cocaine.” Sometime after Miller’s triumph, the family — Miller, her mother, and her children – picked up and moved to a new neighborhood. However, Miller’s children still had to remain with their grandmother.
In 2005, Miller’s mother died, and she knew that her children could be taken away to live with anyone. With this in mind, she took her kids with her. Lawyer Linda Coon, the chairperson for the Chicago Bar Association’s legislative subcommittee for adoption law, took her case. As The Root says, “Miller was naturally the clear caretaker, but the courts would have to override a previous court order against her.”
Coon succeeded in getting the custody of Miller’s children turned back over to her. Coon wrote a bill — sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz — that was passed by the Illinois State Legislature in May of 2009. The Root reports that “ The law allows for parents who have lost custody of their children to rehabilitate themselves and regain it if the adoptive parent is a blood relative and passes away.” It is currently believed that this is the only law of the like that exists in the country.
Ayvaunn Penn is the founder of Your Black Poets and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. To inquire about her freelance editing services, click here. To like Ayvaunn on Facebook, click here.