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July/August 2013Vol. 14, No. 6Quality Legal Representation for Parents

Policy for recently published a guest blog post discussing child welfare court interventions and the role of effective representation for parents in the court system. In this post, author Martha Raimon notes that representation for parents in child welfare cases is often inadequate, leading to removal of children and, sometimes, termination of parental rights. Raimon describes several promising State interventions involving parent representation in New York, Washington, and Michigan that help child welfare agencies achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for children.

Each intervention utilizes a multidisciplinary team consisting of an attorney, social worker, and a parent advocate. This team provides collective support and legal representation to parents of children in or at risk of entering foster care.

Promising preliminary results indicate that parent representation interventions may have a positive impact on achieving permanency for children and families, in addition to savings in government funds. For instance, in New York, more than 50 percent of children participating in the intervention avoided foster care placement. The Washington State program saw an 11-percent increase in the rate of reunification.

The Policy for blog provides a forum to discuss policy issues. Access the blog on the Policy for website: