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Right to Counsel Hill Briefing

Thursday, May 30, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kim Dvorchak
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The Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth
and the
Congressional Caucus on Crime Prevention and Youth Development
invite you to join us for a briefing on
 
Right to Counsel in Child Abuse and Neglect Dependency Cases
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 
11:00 am to Noon
Rayburn House Office Building, Rm. 2325 
Washington, DC
 
More than 430,000 US children have pending cases in state child welfare courts.
 
Child welfare courts have incredible power to affect family, personal, and legal relationships. Yet, there is no national right to legal counsel for parties in a state dependency proceeding.
 
This briefing will address why effective legal representation is critical to protect the legal rights of children, parents, and Tribes and to ensure cases are quickly resolved in successful reunification with parents, adoption or guardianship. The briefing will review progress and the status of access to counsel in state child welfare dependency cases. The briefing will identify existing and prospective opportunities to ensure the rights of all parties are protected within the child welfare system.
 
Panelists will provide personal stories about and expertise on the need for high quality legal counsel for all parties in state dependency proceedings.
 
Moderator: Prudence Beidler Carr, Director, ABA Center on Children and the Law, highlights findings from the new report card on “A Child’s Right to Counsel, 4th ed. by First Star Institute and The Children’s Advocacy Institute, and policy issues related to children’s right to counsel.
 
Foster Youth Voice:  Former foster youth Frank Utomo and Levi Zwick-Tapley share their perspectives on how legal representation affected their cases.
 
Tribal Courts: Yurok Tribal Court Judge, Abby Abinanti addresses tribal interests and the role of legal counsel in state court proceedings to which the Indian Child Welfare Act applies.
 
Parent Right to Counsel: Martin Guggenheim, Professor of Law, New York University Law School, Family Defense Clinic discusses the importance of quality parent representation.
 
Practice Perspective: Murphy B. Henry, attorney and Child Welfare Law Specialist, represents parents and caretakers as an attorney as well as children as an attorney and as a guardian ad litem. She explains how the lawyers interact with each other, with guardians ad litem, and clients in District of Columbia child welfare cases.

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