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My Life Chose Me: A Young Mother’s Guide to Surviving the System

Publication year: 2010
This book is an excellent example of the type of manual inmate mothers need and deserve. “We [the authors] made this book so that mothers and their families would be better able to understand their rights. So many mothers have lost their children, because of lack of information and access to resources. It is our dream that this book provide young mothers with some information that will help them make better decisions, and better understand their situations. Our mission in writing this book is to try and give mothers a better chance of keeping their children. We also hope children who have been taken from their mothers through CPS [Child Protective Services] or due to their mother’s incarceration will read this book. Maybe they might understand a little better why mom wasn’t able to be there. And hopefully this book will help keep families together, and more kids will get to stay with their moms” (p.4). Sections comprising this book include: on the outs—mandated reporters, breakdown on the courts that deal with minor children and custody, reunification, custody, and guardianship, Power of Attorney, and Caregivers Authorization Affidavit; locked up—arrest, rights while locked up, in lock-up (jail or prison), locked up (California Youth Authority), and locked up (juvenile hall); and foster care. Sample letters are provided for: child’s caregiver; judge; ones social worker; court clerk; ones probation officer; attorney; and a letter requesting alternative sentencing. There is also a sample of the “Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit”.