Information Session Hosted On Legal Rights Of Parents With Felony Records
Today, The Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji and Anishinaabe Legal Services came together to host an informational session. The session focused on the topic of legal rights for parents who are felons.
Valerie Field, Anishinabe Legal Services staff attorney, said, “We talked about custody and parenting times issues in particular in reference to people who have a felony on their record, but I did go over a number of issues just in general, too.”
It’s often times said that parents who have a record can do little to nothing to support their children. However, audience members learned that this is not true. With just a little support and guidance, parents with felonies can quickly get their life back on track.
Donald Fairbanks, re-entry coordinator for parents who are felons, stated, “One thing that I gained is that a lot of guys are discouraged by the fact that they are felons, and it’s an uphill battle for them and a lot of times it feels discouraging when they are trying to get visitation watch for their kids.”
Although the session was not case specific and talked about general situations, many questions were asked and answered. Parents who attended the event left with hope for their future.
“We had a small turnout today but just with the few people that we had, there was plenty of questions asked. When people ask questions and they hear other people ask questions, they feel that they’re not alone. That’s why it’s better to conduct it in a group setting because there’s a lot of similar scenarios and people have been through that other people might think is impossible,” said Fairbanks.
So many parents have a hard time understanding their parental rights, and being a felon with children makes parenting ten times harder. That is why informational sessions such as this one is important because they discussed the ins and out of the court system and made sure that parents understood what it takes to be a loving, supportive and – most importantly – involved in their child’s life.
“The big thing that I hoped that they learned is that when you’re dealing with custody situations, regardless if there is a felon is involved and even when there’s not and just two parents who have a dispute, that they realize that the court system and the system in general really tries to focus on what is in best for the children. So it’s not about them and their needs but what’s best for the children,” said Field.
This is one of the first informational sessions that focuses on the legal assistance for historically under-served people in the area, and with a success story like today, this will not be the last. To check out more events hosted by Northwest Indian Community Development Center, click here.