The children were crying, screaming and covering their watery eyes while their mother starved them, neglected them and continually drowned herself in drugs. The children deserved to be loved, looked after and cared for. They didn’t deserve to be abandoned, neglected and left to fend for themselves, especially at the ages of seven and nine.

Valerie, the daughter in law of Sarah, had legal trouble her entire adult life. She had been in and out of jail, wanted for stealing cars, and arrested for prostitution, dealing drugs, and possession. Ever since the children were babies, Valerie would neglect them in ways that were coldhearted. She starved them, ignored them when they cried and left them in the hands of their grandparents so that she could take off and not look back.

The children told their grandmother about the neglect and abuse they were experiencing and how they were deprived of their most basic needs.  “She was a horrible, horrible mother. She would verbally and emotionally abuse those children. She wouldn’t take them to school, she broke their belongings, wouldn’t wash their clothes, and talked to them like they were trash,” Sarah exclaimed. “She would hit her daughter with spoons. And worst of all, she would lock up her step son in a closet and wouldn’t feed him all day.”

In addition to neglecting the kids, the living conditions were astounding; Sarah could not believe the filth they were living in. Valerie would sleep with men who had body lice, then bring said lice into the house. You could not walk through the house because there was trash everywhere.

Sarah knew the kids would never make it in life if they did not have proper care, love and affection. They desperately needed parents to nurture them. Enough was enough. She knew what she had to do. She turned to Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA) for a protective order and full custody of both children.

As soon as LSLA accepted Sarah’s case, her lawyer prepared and filed the necessary paperwork with the county court. Soon thereafter, Sarah was able to get a protective order and custody rights over the children.  Sarah is pleased with how the children are doing since they came to live with her and her husband. Sarah wants both of them to have the most normal life as possible. This includes learning their manners, going to school and giving back.

Both children have depression, anxiety, ADHD and PTSD resulting from the traumatic conditions they were faced with. Even though they both see therapists and are working on their mental health, they are still afraid to go to school and even go outside. It took a while for them to get comfortable being at their grandparent’s house.

“They now have a nice, clean bed to sleep in, in a bed of their own. They get three meals and a snack every day,” Sarah said. “We help them with their homework, they are learning to do chores, learning to have friends, and learning how to volunteer in the community.”

Sarah’s grandchildren were mistreated until LSLA helped her gain custody rights to call those children her own and save them from growing up in an abusive home.  “Lone Star Legal Aid changed our lives. They fought for us and made it beautiful. Your office did amazing things by helping us get those kids. Now they have a chance at life.”

  • Names were changed to protect the identity of the individuals involved.