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NACC is thrilled to launch our 2020 Members-Only Webinar Series!  


NACC Membership benefits now include access to live and recorded free one-hour webinars held monthly.  


Members:  Click here to view prior webinars at your leisure!

Not a member?  Click here to become a Member.




NACC Webinar: What do Foster Youth and Other Stakeholders Want From Their Lawyer? Research Findings Chart the Course to High-Quality Legal Representation


Tuesday February 4, 2020

2:30-3:30 PM EST

Nationwide, high-quality legal representation for children is in the spotlight. Yet most policy conversations focus on how professionals envision the legal advocate’s work. How do foster youth define effective representation? How does current empirical research of their perspectives shape our work? This interactive webinar will synthesize several new studies examining stakeholder (e.g., foster youth, foster parent, child welfare workers, attorney guardians ad litem) perspectives about the quality of legal representation for youth in care. After a brief overview of extant research and policies, the presenters will share findings from recently published research and discuss emerging conceptual models for effective legal representation, from the perspective of foster youth. Presenters will also share preliminary findings from a recent survey of attorney perspectives. Participants who join this webinar will gain an appreciation for the involvement of key stakeholders to understanding effective legal representation, understand newly published research findings and their application to developing high-quality children’s representation models, and examine areas for future inquiry and development related to legal practices with foster youth..


Webinar Presenters


Jay Miller, Ph.D.
Dr. Jay Miller is the Dean, Director of the Self-Care Lab, and
Dorothy A. Miller Research Professor in Social Work Education in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Jay is dedicated to a host of social issues and community outreach, a passion which he brings to his work as an educator and scholar. Jay has published a number of books and juried articles. His research and academic interests focus on child welfare and youth involvement in juvenile systems. Jay is actively involved in a host of community endeavors and has served as the Chairperson of Kentucky’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, Board of Social Work, and Children’s Justice Act Taskforce, among others. Jay is a past recipient of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Paul Grannis Award, is a 2014 inductee into the College of Health and Human Services Hall of Fame at Western Kentucky University, and recently had his research recognized via an award from the Children’s Bureau. Jay was a Cohort Two Doris Duke Fellow (Doris Duke Foundation and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago) and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Louisville. Last but not least, Jay is a proud foster and kin care alum!


Jessica Donohue-Dioh, MSW, Ph.D.
Dr. Jessica Donohue-Dioh is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. She is committed to social work’s role in addressing social justice and human rights. Jessica is passionate about teaching and also maintains a research agenda focusing on the prevention of human trafficking, as well as partnerships in research addressing youth in foster care and their legal representation and self-care of helping professionals domestically and abroad. Dr. D. is mindful to place emphasis on the inclusion of participant voices, be it youth in foster care or survivors of human trafficking. She maintains a critical focus on participants’ recommendations and influence throughout her research, publications, and future collaboration. Jessica has worked in a variety of professional capacities including medical social work, mental health, community organizing, training, education, group work, program development, and is currently focused on teaching, research and advocacy.  Dr. Donohue-Dioh has worked with local communities as well as federal offices, including the Department of State. Most importantly, Jessica is a committed parent of two fantastic children. Jessica and her family enjoy traveling, playing board games, watching movies and a variety of outdoor activities. 


Register Here!





New Legal Resources for Incorporating the Family First Act into Your Practice in 2020


Prudence Beidler Carr, ABA Center on Children and the Law

Cristina Ritchie Cooper, ABA Center on Children and the Law


In Fall 2019, more provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act became effective in states across the country. This webinar will highlight two new resources: a Family First Legal Guide and a Tool for Engaging the Legal Community in Family First Implementation. The Legal Guide is written for attorneys, judges, magistrates, and court personnel, and provides an overview about how the Family First Act changes federal child welfare law, identifies opportunities to use the Act in legal advocacy and judicial decision-making, and offers guidance on supporting effective  implementation in local communities.


View this previously recorded webinar here



Child Welfare Year in Review


Steven Olender, Senior Policy Associate at the Children's Defense Fund

Allison Green, Legal Director for National Association of Counsel for Children


2019 was a busy and exciting year for child welfare law practitioners. Join the webinar to hear about the new statutes, case law, and policy changes that left their mar on the field. This webinar will be foundational for strong advocacy in the year ahead!



The Intersection of Child Welfare and Civil Rights: A Conversation with the ACLU 


Jason D. Williamson, Deputy Director of ACLU's Criminal Law Reform Project

Somil Trivedi, Senior Staff Attorney of ACLU's Criminal Law Reform Project


This session presented ACLU’s work and structure, along with the various ways in which the ACLU partners with other organizations committed to social justice. Presenters will then discuss some of the intersections of child welfare practice and the ACLU’s advocacy around sacred constitutional protections, including those guaranteed by the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.



Family Separation at the Border: Updates from the Front Lines and What You Can Do About It!


Vanessa Pineda, Managing Attorney of Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights

Miriam Abaya, Policy Associate of Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights


August 2019: This webinar explains the government’s practice of family separation over the last two years, including the formal policy of “zero tolerance” that led to thousands of separations and the nearly 1,000 separations that have occurred since a court ordered an end to separations.  Presenters focus attention on strategies for pursuing reunification of families, protecting their legal rights, and the role of independent Child Advocates in their cases.



Children's Right to Counsel: Statutory Reform, Litigation, Delivery Systems


Amy Harfeld, JD, National Policy Director & Senior Staff Attorney, Children's Advocacy Institute

Bob Fellmeth, JD, Executive Director, Children's Advocacy Institute

Kim Dvorchak, JD, Executive Director, National Association of Counsel for Children


July 2019: This webinar reviews children's right to counsel in the context of state statutes, federal law, litigation, and delivery system development.  The webinar will include an overview of the newly released Children's Advocacy Institute and First Star's National Report Card on Legal Representation for Abused and Neglected Children, 4th Editionreview the status of the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Act (CAPTA) as it pertains to children's representation, as well as discuss resources from the QIC-ChildRep Center to inform legal delivery system development in the context of Title IV-E funding.



A Courtroom Advocate’s Guide to the Family First Galaxy


Allison Green, JD, CWLS, Legal Director, National Association of Counsel for Children

Stefanie Sprow, JD, Deputy Director of Child Welfare & Mental Health, Children's Defense Fund


JUNE 2019: This webinar provides an overview of key components of the 2018 Family First Prevention Services Act, the most sweeping piece of federal child welfare legislation in decades. Attendees will learn how to translate the law’s mandates into daily courtroom advocacy and legal innovation. Specifically, the session will focus on advocacy tips applied to each stage of a child welfare case: pre-petition, initial hearings, placement decisions, services and permanency pathways. Participants will gain increased confidence and urgency to leverage the language and the spirit of Family First on behalf of the children, parents and caregivers they represent. 



Title IV-E Funding for Legal Representation 


Gerry Glynn, Chief Legal Counsel, Embrace Families

Erin Lovell, Executive Director, Legal Counsel for Youth and Children

Tom Rawlings, Director, Georgia Division of Family and Children Services


APRIL 2019: The Federal Government recently expanded how the states can receive reimbursement for foster care related expenses to include reimbursement for funds spent providing legal representation to children and parents in child welfare proceedings.  This session will explain the federal funding scheme and how states can use these funds before and during child welfare cases to provide quality legal representation to children and parents.  The presenters will also provide practical steps for participants, encouraging everyone to think big and to help their states maximize their funding under this new scheme. 



Active Efforts and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)


Judge Len Edwards, California

Vida Castaneda, Senior Analyst, Tribal/State Programs, California Judicial Counsel


FEBRUARY 2019: This webinar addressed the meaning of Active Efforts as contained in the ICWA, discussing appellate case law describing Active Efforts, comparing Active Efforts to Reasonable Efforts, and suggesting how attorneys should argue the active efforts requirement in court. 



Child Welfare and Poverty


Diane Redleaf, Author & Advocate, Family Defense Consulting

Ruth White, Executive Director, National Center for Housing and Child Welfare

OCTOBER 2018: The child protection system is supposed to protect children from abuse and neglect and promote their health and well-being.  But that system tends to confuse poverty with genuine neglect, impoverishing the families who are the targets of its intervention in the process and causing deterioration in children’s stability and prospects for self-sufficiency. This discussion, with housing and child welfare advocates and academics working in the child welfare and poverty law arenas in the US, will focus on the many respects in which the child protection system contributes to child and family poverty. Topics will include: how child protection systems misidentify and mistreat poverty; how race, national origin, and class bias intensify the maltreatment of families; how child abuse registers operate as employment blacklists in the low-income work force; economic security issues facing children aging out of foster care; and how policies that criminalize poverty operate unchecked in child protection systems in the US.


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