MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Childlaw Services, Inc., a nonprofit law firm, held its ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its new third office.
The organization is based in Princeton and has another office in Charleston. Cathy Wallace, the organizations executive director, said the office would start with one attorney who will receive assistance and supervision from Melissa Stacy of Stacy Law Offices. She said the new office, like the two others, will be dedicated to representing children in court and using programs to empower them and look out for their welfare.
“We started doing a few cases here, so we anticipate we will be doing abuse and neglect cases primarily, but we also have been asked to do some family law cases where abuse or alcohol use or drug use is a factor there,” Wallace said. “We’re also getting involved with juvenile drug court, so we want to help out with that too and also get into the schools and help some of our kids with truancy issues, some runaways. We do handle a lot of runaways, too, and some of those kinds of offenses. Usually, not all the time, say there are other issues and other problems either in the home or mental health issues that we’d like to help out with as well.”
Wallace said there had been calls from rural counties surrounding Monongalia Co., such as Harrison and Preston Counties, asking for Childlaw’s services to come to the region. There is a need for a practice devoted to children’s wellbeing, and her organization hopes to fill that gap, Wallace said.
She said ever since people started asking for an office a few years ago, Childlaw Services has been working to find funding. Now that they finally have, Wallace said she is happy.
“This is something we’ve been working on for five years,” Wallace said. “And to see it culminate and have this opportunity to come up here and be of assistance, be part of the community and do this — I mean it’s a dream of mine. It’s a dream for our organization, too, to be able to help out in that way, so we’re very excited.”