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Reconciling grandmother and granddaughter: psychologists and lawyers together prevented the abandonment of guardianship status

Publication date: September 7, 2023

Tamara*, a resident of Bila Tserkva, turned to the NGO “Legal Unity” in despair. She asked for help to withdraw her guardianship status.

The pensioner told the lawyers, whose legal support she needed, that she was the guardian of her 11-year-old granddaughter. Recently, according to the grandmother, the girl had become uncontrollable. She started making strange acquaintances, behaved badly at school, skipped classes, met with dubious boys, and even stole money.

Oleksandra Shcherbyna, lawyer at the NGO “Legal Unity”

Oleksandra Shcherbyna, lawyer at the NGO “Legal Unity”.

  • “She is constantly running away from home. I see that my granddaughter often comes home drunk, bruised from beatings, and does not spend the night at home. I cannot reach her with my requests and conversations. I cannot explain that she is harming herself by her actions. That’s why I turned to your organisation,” Oleksandra Shcherbyna, a lawyer at the NGO “Legal Unity”, quoted Tamara as saying.

So, the grandmother could not stand it and took the extreme step of withdrawing her guardianship status, as she believed that she was not coping with raising her granddaughter.

The lawyers promised the woman to provide legal support in her case. Still, they advised her first to seek comprehensive psychosocial support and only then, if it did not help, to think about revoking her guardianship.

  • We started supporting this family. We engaged a local social services centre psychologist who worked with the granddaughter and the grandmother. Together, we helped the girl find a hobby she liked: drawing and dancing – it turned out that she had long dreamed of learning this but did not know where to turn and was unsure of her abilities,” comments Oleksandra Shcherbyna.

After two months of working with a psychologist and participating in creative classes, the girl became calmer, her relationship with her grandmother warmed up, and her granddaughter began to help Tamara much more. She even left an unreliable company, concluding she was no longer interested in that lifestyle.

Thus, having applied for legal aid in time and found human and professional support, Tamara established a good relationship with her granddaughter and saved her family.

*Name has been changed for ethical reasons.

The material was created with the support of the international charity platform GlobalGiving and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The publication’s content is solely the responsibility of the Legal Development Network.

P. S. More relevant information on legal and humanitarian issues – is in the special section #StandWithUkraine. It accumulates materials that may be useful to those who suffer, whose rights are violated as a result of the war between russia and Ukraine.

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