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NACC Certification

Certification Icon NACC Child Welfare Law Certification

NACC Child Welfare Law Certification is available to attorneys who serve in the role of Child’s Attorney (including Guardian ad Litem, Law Guardian, Attorney ad Litem), Parent’s Attorney, and Agency / Department / Government Attorney. The specialization area is defined as “the practice of law representing children, parents or the government in all child protection proceedings including emergency, temporary custody, adjudication, disposition, foster care, permanency planning, termination, guardianship, and adoption. Child Welfare Law does not include representation in private custody and adoption disputes where the state is not a party.” To date, there are over 550 NACC Certified Child Welfare Law Specialists in 39 jurisdictions.

Certification Costs

Item Price
Application $300
Exam $350
Annual Renewal $110*
Recertification (every 5 years) $300
* Some states require an annual fee. NACC may collect and submit on the specialist's behalf.

The NACC certification program was created and sponsored by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau and is accredited by the American Bar Association. The program has also been endorsed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators (CCJ/COSCA). The NACC also obtains the necessary authorization from state regulatory authorities such as the court, state bar association, or committee on legal specialization.



How to Become Certified

Ready to become certified? Just follow these steps:

  1. Request an application by filling out our online form.

  2. Complete and submit the application with $300 fee.

  3. Submit any additional application materials, including a written sample and CLE History Form.

  4. Submit the $350 exam fee.  Schedule your personal exam date/location and pass.
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Eligibility at a Glance

Child Welfare Law Certification is modeled after physician board certification and requires that attorneys satisfy certain requirements to apply. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most important requirements. For a complete list of requirements, please see our Certification Standards, which you’ll find on the Applicant Resources page.

  • Three or more years practicing law

  • 30% or more of the last three years involved in child welfare law

  • 36 hours of continuing learning education within the last three years in courses relevant to child welfare law (45 hours in California, and 36 hours + nine hours of ethics courses in Arizona)

  • A writing sample drafted within the last three years that demonstrates legal analysis in the field of child welfare law 

Applicant Resources Icon Applicant Resources

Our Applicant Resources page provides you with information and tools to help guide you through the application process. You’ll find information on certification standards and the certification exam, as well as a selection of useful forms and an area submitting additional application materials.

Learn More


Recertification Icon Recertification Info

After five years as a Child Welfare Law Specialist, certified attorneys must apply for recertification. The fee is $300, and the abridged application process does not require a writing sample or examination. For more info, visit our Recertification Info page. There, you’ll find an electronic recertification application, recertification standards, application forms, and an area where you can upload application attachments.

More Info


Applicant Resources Icon CWLS Resources

Already a child welfare law specialist? Why not build your own credibility while helping the CWLS program gain recognition and exposure? Our CWLS Resource page contains a variety of tools to help you promote your specialty.

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Network Icon CWLS Search Directory

Looking for a child welfare law specialist in your state or jurisdiction? Perhaps you're an existing CWLS member who's looking to network with like-minded professionals. Our CWLS Search Directory can help you locate a specialist near you. If you know who you're looking for, you can also search by name. 

View Directory



National Dissemination

At the NACC, we are constantly working to bring a higher level of professional accountability to the field of child welfare law. In 2015, we’re focusing our efforts on expanding our certification program into the states of Pennsylvania, Minnesota, South Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio. If you’re interested in bringing Child Welfare Law Specialization to your state, please contact NACC Certification Director, Daniel Trujillo at

NACC Child Welfare Law Certification is currently available in the following jurisdictions:

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