Court of appeal in Washington vacates order terminating parental rights

Court of appeal in Washington vacates order terminating parental rights finding that the the superior court violated the appearance of fairness and parents’ due process because it assisted and advocated against the parents through its voluntary guardian ad litem program. Appellate court ordered the case remanded to a different county and ordered that the child…

CLS Blog: Family Advocacy: How Holistic Family Defense Helps Children Thrive

FJI collaborator, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, writes about how their interdisciplinary model of legal representation for parents helps families stay together in a blog about family advocacy. Read the post here.

Administration for Children and Families Information Memorandum

In a new Information Memorandum highlighting the importance of family and youth voice in a well-functioning child welfare system, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families identifies high-quality legal representation for children and parents as one of the key principles in its call to action to child welfare agencies, dependency courts, and court…

By Kevin Penton: Why An Attorney May Not Be Enough In Child Welfare Cases

Jason Bragg was confused. He felt angry. But more than anything, he wanted his son back. Bragg said he believes the reunification would have taken far longer had he not received guidance from the Parents Representation Program, a service for low-income parents operating out of Washington state’s Office of Public Defense. Read the full article…

US: Legal representation is essential for abused children – and smart for states

Children are the vulnerable parties in child abuse and neglect cases, with every aspect of their lives at stake when they face removal from their families or enter a courtroom. Dependency courts dramatically shape a child’s future and have complete authority over the children in their custody. Read the full article here.

New York Child Welfare Advocates Want Parents to Have Representation When Their Children Are Removed

“I would have liked an attorney from day one, not just when I landed in court. It would have been a little better,” Montauban said. Child welfare reform advocates agree, and are forming an alliance of activists and practitioners to advocate for more timely representation statewide for parents accused of abusing or neglecting their children….

First Star Institute & the Children’s Advocacy Institute Release Latest Edition of “A Child’s Right to Counsel,” a Report on Nationwide Effort to Guarantee Legal Protections for Children in Abuse and Neglect Cases

Link to the report and related articles: Full Report Executive Summary Press Release Article from the Chronicle of Social Change

FJI Executive Team Member, Prudence Beidler Carr, to moderate congressional briefing on right to counsel for families in child welfare cases.

The Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and the Congressional Caucus on Crime Prevention and Youth Development invite you to join us for a briefing on Right to Counsel in Child Abuse and Neglect Dependency Cases Tuesday, June 4, 2019  11:00 am to Noon Rayburn House Office Building, Rm. 2325  More than 430,000 US children have…

Providing Parents with Interdisciplinary Legal Representation in Child Welfare Cases Significantly Reduces the Time Children Stay in Foster Care Without Compromising Child Safety, New Study Finds.

Evaluation of parental representation in New York, which was funded by the generous support of Casey Family Programs and undertaken with New York University and Action Research is officially published. This was a multi-year study of child welfare cases brought in the New York City courts to determine whether the kind of legal representation provided…

By Yasmeen Khan: Family Separations in Our Midst

In November 2017, less than a week before Thanksgiving, Tonia Lovell picked up her toddler, Eliana, from daycare in the early evening and returned to the house where she was staying with her brother in Brooklyn. The living situation was not ideal, and Lovell had tried twice to get into a family shelter in the…