FJI Spring Newsletter 2024

Welcome to the spring edition of the Family Justice Initiative newsletter. We hope you will find these resources helpful to your practice.

The Office of Family Representation and Advocacy Opens in New Mexico

New Mexico is a long time member of the FJI community and we want to celebrate and congratulate the newly opened Office of Family Representation and Advocacy (OFRA). The Office is implementing high quality interdisciplinary legal representation and practice infrastructure that promise to improve child and family outcomes.  OFRA’s work is driven by a fundamental…

Anti-Racist Lawyering In Practice Site Now Available!

FJI just launched the Anti-Racist Lawyering In Practice website. Collected here is a set of authoritative and adaptable resources, ideas, checklists, instructions, and templates for defense practitioners and multi-disciplinary professionals to examine the harm that children—particularly Black, Native American/Alaska Native, and Hispanic children—have experienced in the child welfare system and to intentionally adopt culturally responsive…

A good attorney can be hard to find for parents in the child welfare system. A new program could help.

If Senate Bill 907 and House Bill 1017 are passed into law they would create the Family Representation and Advocacy Program housed in a central office under the Administrative Office of the Courts. The program would supervise lawyers, oversee training, manage caseloads and compensation and issue standards of practice for attorneys representing children, indigent parents,…

Providing High Quality Legal Representation in Child Welfare Cases Provides Better Outcomes for Kids

Judge Fransein touches on better outcomes for children with lawyers and proposed legislation to create a centralized office to remove the barriers that currently exist for children and parents to obtain high-quality legal representation.

Let’s not leave CT’s older foster youth to advocate for themselves

Not all states ensure lawyers for youth who stay in extended foster care after they turn 18, but in this article Stace Schleif explains why they all should. Kids in state custody need lawyers.

MA: Baker proposal for guardians ad litem will only worsen child welfare system

The move would lead to unnecessary, traumatic separation of children from families writes Michael Dsida and Leon Smith in CommonWealth Magazine.

Improving Child Welfare in Maine

To improve child welfare in Maine, Chelsea Peters argues that national best practices – including a right to legal counsel for children – are a great place to start.

New Campaign to Ensure Attorneys for Children in Foster Care

The National Association of Counsel for Children launches a new campaign, Counsel for Kids, dedicated to ensuring that children in foster care receive lawyers of their own.

Oped: Right to Representation in Noncriminal Cases

You can lose your kids, home and freedom without ever seeing a lawyer. It’s a profound injustice. Powerful op-ed from The Washington Post on the right to representation in noncriminal cases.