Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Custody Attorneys Battle Inequality.

Byline: Rebecca Roybal Journal Staff Writer

Not many lawyers line up to represent parents accused of abusing and neglecting their children the cases are often heartbreaking, and the pay is relatively low.

Until a few months ago, Diana Llewellyn had not even considered such work.

But one case made her realize how vulnerable parents are.

The case involved a mother who was changing her child's diaper. She turned away from him to discard it. "She turned, the child started to leave the table," Llewellyn said.

The mother grabbed the child's arm to prevent him from falling. She rushed him to a doctor, who found a spiral fracture, and the state stepped in and took custody of the child.

Llewellyn was the guardian ad litem, meaning she represented the child in court. The case was dismissed, and the child was returned to his family.

"And that really made me think about and become paranoid about being a parent," she said. "Now, after four months of being (a court-appointed attorney), the time frame is so fast, the things (the state) wants these people to do it's amazing if they get their kids back at all. …

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