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November 2006Vol. 7, No. 8Fostering Quality Representation of Children

The relatively new practice of child welfare law, which emerged after the passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in 1974, has grown to the point where there are now law offices dedicated to the practice of child welfare law. To provide a model for best practice for child welfare law and the legal representation of abused and neglected children, the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) developed the Children's Law Office Project (CLOP). CLOP is designed to identify child welfare law practices, provide them with a network, and offer training and technical assistance.

As part of this program, NACC recently released a new publication, Child Welfare Law Office Guidebook: Best Practice Guidelines for Organizational Legal Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases. Drawing on the expertise of law office executives with significant experience practicing child welfare law, the book offers guidance on achieving best practices. It includes guidelines in three major areas: administration, development and outreach, and programs. Under these main areas, 33 topics are covered, including staff recruitment and retention, cultural competency, development and outreach, standards of practice, training, attorney certification, and quality review. Three appendixes provide information on standards of practice, community resources, and developing outcome measures or a logic model for practice.

The book is available for download on the NACC website: (PDF - 1,600 KB)