The practice of law for children is a relatively recent development. Although attorneys have represented children in various types of proceedings throughout American history, it is only in the last quarter of the 20th century that attorneys have focused their practices on children. The movement to develop an area of practice called children's law is largely an outgrowth of the development of the child protection or dependency court system. The role and duties of an attorney for a minor vary depending on the type of case and the law of the jurisdiction. Children's lawyers typically serve in one of two roles:
Attorney Guardian Ad Litem - In this capacity, the attorney serves in the special role of guardian ad litem or GAL, and is responsible to represent the child's "best interests." This is frequently the role of the child's attorney in child protection (abuse, neglect and dependency) cases.
Attorney - In this capacity, the attorney represents the child client in much the same way an adult is represented. This is typically the role of an attorney representing a child in a delinquency case.
For a discussion of the roles and duties of the child's attorney, click here
Hiring an Attorney
Attorneys for children are usually appointed by the local court. If you are a minor or an adult and you need assistance finding an attorney or other child welfare or juvenile justice professional, the NACC may be able to help you. The NACC is a national membership association of attorneys and other child advocates dedicated to improving the representation and protection of children in the legal system. The NACC does not provide direct legal services to the public. We do maintain a database of professionals for referral purposes.
To request a referral to an attorney in your geographic area call toll-free at 1-888-828-NACC (6222)
Important Information Regarding NACC Referrals
Referrals provided by the NACC are either members of the NACC or are known to us to practice in the area of children and the law. These individuals and firms are not employed by the NACC nor are they under any legal obligation to accept the referral. Any professional service arrangement made will be between you and the individual or firm and does not involve the NACC. The NACC does not warrant the capabilities of these individuals or firms
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