In Child Welfare Cases, Just Any Old Lawyer Won’t Do

“This pandemic has provided a long-overdue jolt to our system. This jolt gives us the chance to re-examine our broken system and to reimagine how we can better support families. Strong legal representation by institutional providers is a first step.” Read the full article here.

Covid-19 crisis brings focus on why high-quality legal representation for children and parents is needed to fix a broken child welfare system.

Read the full article here.

New federal funding rule highlights importance of interdisciplinary legal representation for parents and children advocated for by Family Justice Initiative

Read the full article here.

Breaking News: Child Welfare Policy Manual updated to clarify use of federal funds

Child Welfare Policy Manual updated to clarify that federal funds may be used to support administrative costs of paralegals, investigators, peer partners or social workers that support parents’ and children’s attorneys. See Child Welfare Policy Manual, Section 8.1B, Question 32. 

How Can Civil Legal Aid Help Keep Families Together and Kids Out of Foster Care?

By Karlee M. Naylon, research associate, and Karen A. Lash, practitioner in residence, American University, Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology, The Justice in Government Project Read article here.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau issues guidance to courts, attorneys and child welfare agencies during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

CB urges courts to refrain from making sweeping blanket orders ceasing, suspending, or postponing court hearings and reducing or suspending family visitation. Read the letter here.

Welcome Joanne Moore!

We are happy to announce that Joanne Moore, the Director of Washington’s Office of Public Defense (OPD), will be our newest FJI Executive Team member. Under Joanne’s leadership OPD’s Parent Representation Program has grown into a model for providing high-quality legal representation to parents through a statewide office. Washington’s Parent Representation Program has been evaluated…

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  • Quality Legal Representation

    High-quality legal representation for parents and children in child welfare proceedings has many benefits, including increased parental engagement, more frequent visitation, and better access to services. Most importantly, quality legal representation for families has been shown to reduce the length of time children must spend in foster care — and in some cases, prevent family…

    Bumpy Ride in Wyoming for Bills to Create Parent and Child Representation Offices

    Chronicle of Social Change – February 14, 2020 Just days into Wyoming’s legislative session, bills to expand legal counsel to children and parents in child welfare court were killed by a lack of support. But half of the package has already been raised from the dead. House Bill (HB) 18 would have moved child representation…

    Top Stories of 2019 from The Chronicle

    Chronicle of Social Change – December 25, 2019 At the dawn of 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services opened up federal spending for the first time to support legal fees for parents involved in child welfare cases. And in the spring, a long-awaited study linked the use of interdisciplinary law offices –…