• September 2018
  • Vol. 19, No. 7

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Improving Legal Services for Children and Families

A recent post on the Rethinking Foster Care blog proposes changes to how legal services are delivered in order to better serve children and families who are at risk or currently involved with the child welfare system. The author, a clinical professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, describes four principles regarding legal services for this population and then proposes several steps for improvement.

The following are the four principles set forth in the post:

  • Families at-risk of crisis situations need access to legal advocacy services to help stave off crises.
  • Families in crisis need access to legal assistance to advise them of their rights and resolve any issues.
  • If a child is removed from the home, the family should have legal representation at or, preferably, before the first hearing.
  • If the child remains in foster care, the lawyer should continue to support the family both in and out of the courtroom.

The following are examples of ways the author suggests to improve the system:

  • Agency staff embracing legal advocacy for families
  • Parent attorneys receiving training on family engagement
  • Support pilot projects focusing on legal advocacy at the preremoval stage

To read the complete post, "Redesigning The Delivery Of Legal Services To Prevent Children From Entering Foster Care," visit https://rethinkingfostercare.blogspot.com/2018/07/redesigning-delivery-of-legal-services.html.

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