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In response to COVID-19 guidance, many states are waiving online/on-demand CLE restrictions and limits. View the state-by-state status of changes.


NACC membership benefits now include access to live webinars and previously recorded webinars.  In 2020, NACC increased webinar frequency to monthly and is offering CLE credit opportunities.


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

Not a member?  Click here to join.



Trauma Responsive Skills for Lawyers Part 2: Working with Clients in Crisis



Attorneys working in child welfare often encounter clients and other parties who have experienced trauma and are actively in crisis. But what is the attorney’s role in recognizing and responding to those trauma reactions?  Join presenter Cynthia Bowkley, an attorney trained in somatic experiencing, who will discuss how stress and trauma manifest physically, mentally, and emotionally in children, parents, and attorneys during child welfare cases, and how attorneys can appropriately respond to those trauma reactions. Attorneys will learn how to effectively address trauma with child and parent clients, help clients regulate their trauma reactions in the courtroom, and navigate high-stress interactions while maintaining professional civility.


This webinar is a follow-up to NACC’s May COVID-19 webinar, “Trauma Responsive Skills for Lawyers during COVID-19”, which can be viewed here.


Register Here!


Cynthia Bowkley, J.D., CPPM, SE Advanced Student


An international coach and speaker, Cynthia is a powerful catalyst for people who are ready to grow to the next level, both in business and in life. A graduate of Newfield Network’s elite coaching program, Coaching for Personal and Professional Mastery, Cynthia works with clients across various domains of learning, including those of language, body, and emotions, in order to create profound shifts in her clients’ way of being. These shifts open possibilities and opportunities for her clients that didn’t exist before. Cynthia also uses her training in Somatic Experiencing to help her clients weave together cognitive awareness with nervous system regulation. This helps her clients overcome stress, overwhelm, burnout, and anxiety. Her clients also report being able to manage their emotions more easily, step more fully into their positions as leaders and high achievers, and to increase their rates of success and productivity. Cynthia has taught reiki, yoga, and meditation, which provide a background of mindfulness for all of her coaching sessions and projects. She has an innate ability to help clients drop in, see the blocks they construct for themselves, and then move past these old barriers to create truly fulfilling lives they love to live. Cynthia is well known for her proactive coaching style, which comes in part from having practiced law since 2003. Having worked as a litigator, Cynthia has a unique ability to get to the heart of any issue quickly and easily. She understands the stresses and frustrations associated with professional and entrepreneurial life and has assisted numerous other professionals and entrepreneurs in their journeys towards greater clarity, success, and fulfillment.  As a result of Cynthia’s coaching and Somatic Experiencing sessions, her clients report not only a greater sense of direction and accomplishment, but also a deeper connection to themselves and their work, better communication with others, a clearer sense of purpose, and more personal and professional satisfaction than they have ever known.



Pending Accreditation for 2 hours of CLE in Colorado.  CLE approval in at least one state can streamline an attorney’s CLE application in another state.  Check with your jurisdiction for details on simplified CLE applications and online/on-demand learning requirements.





Meaningful Youth Engagement in a Virtual Legal World

Thursday, August 6th, 3:00-4:30 PM ET

Quality legal representation for youth necessarily involves active solicitation, incorporation, and meaningful engagement of youth voice into decision-making. Youth engagement is particularly important in court proceedings. COVID-19 has transformed many attorney-client interactions into virtual events, including court hearings. Virtual attorney-client interactions create new challenges and complexities for attorneys’ abilities to meaningfully engage their clients, protect confidentiality, and amplify their voices.

This webinar will outline concrete tips and best practices for engaging youth in virtual interactions and hearings. Attendees will learn why being led by youth voice in legal decisions, particularly those made in the courtroom, is important and promotes stronger outcomes for youth and families. The presenters will also discuss key considerations for practitioners in preparing for and engaging in virtual meetings and hearings with youth, including privacy and confidentiality, how to navigate and help clients navigate different technology platforms, client counseling, and courtroom best practices.


This webinar is part of NACC’s ongoing series of responsive training measures to support attorney practice in the COVID-19 pandemic. The session is open to members AND non-members.

Watch the Webinar Here!

Shobha Lakshmi Mahadev, JD, Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Robert Latham, JD, Children and Youth Clinic, University of Miami
Dani Townsend, former National Foster Care Youth & Alumni Policy Council Member

Shobha L. Mahadev is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law at the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, where she teaches and supervises students working on cases and projects that involve youth in conflict with the law. Shobha also serves as the project director for the Illinois Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Children, overseeing policy and litigation strategy with respect to advocating for fair laws for children and youth sentenced to life-without-parole and other lengthy sentences. Shobha has co-authored various amicus briefs, including briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court on the subject of the application of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment to children under the age of 18. Shobha was also the primary author of The Illinois Juvenile Defender Practice Notebook, a training manual for attorneys representing youth in court. Prior to joining the CFJC, Shobha was a litigation associate at a Chicago-based law firm and an Assistant Defender with the Office of the State Appellate Defender, First Judicial District, where she represented indigent clients convicted of criminal offenses on appeal and argued before the Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court.


Robert Latham is a Clinical Instructor & Practitioner-in-Residence at the University of Miami Children and Youth Law Clinic. In the clinic, he teaches students who handle cases involving abused, abandoned and neglected children in a variety of forums, including dependency and family courts, administrative hearings, and federal and appellate courts. Mr. Latham earned a B.S. in computer science and B.A. in linguistics from the University of Texas. He later received his J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan (2007), where he participated as a student and a Dean's Fellow in the Michigan Child Advocacy Law Clinic. 

Dani Townsend is a former council member of the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council. She currently works at Cunningham Children’s Home, a residential mental health treatment facility for children. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s in Social Work and Psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dani has spent ten years in the Illinois child welfare system and has assisted in creating policy recommendations in homelessness, mental health, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, and others. She has also been a spokesperson at Mental Health of America, Children’s Defense Fund, and the National Association of Homelessness. Dani continues to strive for a voice for children in hoping to make a difference in her community.


Accredited for 2 hours of CLE in Colorado. CLE approval in at least one state can streamline an attorney’s CLE application in another state. Check with your jurisdiction for details on simplified CLE applications and online/on-demand learning requirements.  All the documents needed to support your CLE application are posted here:

Don't Minimize the Moment: Truth, Reparatory Justice, and Healing for Black Families who are Descendants of Captive and Enslaved Africans in the U.S.  

Thursday, July 23, 2020



The United States of America is in a moment. The COVID-19 global pandemic has ravaged Black families, killing Black people at higher rates than any other racial/ethnic group. Deaths related to COVID-19 and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the recent execution of Rayshard Brooks at the hands of police and white vigilantes triggered an uproar spotlighting centuries of dehumanization and injustices aimed at descendants of captive and enslaved Africans in the U.S. (DCAUS) that has never been repaired or even acknowledged. The recent murders ignited a simmering boil just below the surface of the U.S. psyche, sparking national and global protests evoking messages of hate for Black life reminiscent of another time, a time this country believed was finished.

Centuries of terror and abuse are held in the bones of DCAUS peoples tied to the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the Middle Passage, and the first Black body that arrived on the shores of the U.S. in 1619. The unfathomable abuse continued for centuries codified in laws, policies, and practices that continue to subjugate and dehumanize DCAUS life today. The child welfare system is no exception.


Disparate disruption and the dismantling of DCAUS families and racial trauma have persisted for generations in the child welfare space. A lack of historic understanding and the link to systemic and individual racism, anti-Blackness, and the unique experience that DCAUS families face in the dependency system are under-addressed or not addressed at all. This lack of historic understanding and the connection to present-day oppression and injustice experienced by the DCAUS community permeates the decision-making power structures of the local departments, juvenile courts, and related service providers that decide the fate of DCAUS families. Centuries of neglect, despite screams from DCAUS peoples, can no longer be ignored. We have landed in “this moment,” a moment of truth, reparatory justice, and healing.

In this webinar, participants will learn:

· Who are descendants of captive and enslaved Africans in the U.S. (DCAUS)

· A brief historic overview of the DCAUS experience in the U.S.

· About Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and generational, racial trauma

· Practical tips on working with DCAUS families


Watch the Webinar Recording Here


Stephanie S. Franklin, Esq.

President & CEO

The Franklin Law Group, P.C.

Stephanie S. Franklin, Esq. is the President & CEO of the Franklin Law Group, P.C., a child advocacy law firm located in Baltimore, Maryland who advocates for the human right to safety, development, and well-being for abused and neglected children across the state of Maryland for over 13.5 years. Committed to equity, justice, and recognition, Ms. Franklin has dedicated her life’s work to social justice advocacy – primarily focused on Black people who are descendants of captive and enslaved Africans in the U.S. (DCAUS) . In her 21 years working with children and youth as an attorney, she has litigated numerous cases in the juvenile courts and represents children in the appellate courts. As a leader, policy advocate, human rights organizer and activist, she has advocated for children, youth, and families at the state, national, and global levels, and is credited for being the first to raise the issue of the over-use of psychotropic drugs on African-American girls in foster care at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland – leading to the UN’s Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) treaty body mandating that the United States collect and share data on the rate that psychotropic drugs are being administered to Black children in foster care. She also was the lead organizer for the first-ever fact finding mission of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent to the city of Baltimore. Ms. Franklin is a member of U.S. Human Rights Network, sat on several leadership committees within the organization, and is a former board member of the Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR) program with the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. She has facilitated legal empowerment workshops in prisons; trained judges, magistrates, attorneys, social workers and other professionals in the area of child welfare; and is published on issues pertaining to the intersection of child welfare and criminal justice and education and human rights for Black girls. She hosted and produced a radio show focused on social justice and human rights issues, and has been awarded the Top 100 Women and Leadership in Law awards from the Maryland Daily Record.

Accredited for 2 hours of CLE in Colorado. CLE approval in at least one state can streamline an attorney’s CLE application in another state. Check with your jurisdiction for details on simplified CLE applications and online/on-demand learning requirements. All the documents needed to support your CLE application are posted here: 


Children and Families at a Crossroads: Client Centered Cross-Practice Representation of Undocumented Children

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

This webinar will focus on the intersection of child welfare and immigration law practice, and highlight how holistic teams of attorneys, social workers, paralegals and investigative staff can collaborate to address all relevant aspects of young clients’ lives, both inside the courtroom and out, and represent the child as a whole. Participants will learn best practices for identifying systemic barriers and legal concerns of immigrant youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems; dynamic client interviewing techniques that enhance issue-spotting and promote age-appropriate and culturally sensitive dialogue and interactions; and how to identify cross-advocacy issues such as education and housing. The presenters will also share immigration law updates and explain immigration categories, status, and law practice considerations for family court proceedings, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) hearings.



Melissa Paul-Franklyn, JD
Cristina “Tina” Romero, JD

Jadera Ramirez-Garcia, JD, MSW

Jordyne James, LMSW


Accredited for 2 hours of CLE in Colorado.  CLE approval in at least one state can streamline an attorney’s CLE application in another state.  Check with your jurisdiction for details on simplified CLE applications and online/on-demand learning requirements. 

Advocacy for Youth in Congregate Care during COVID-19

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Federal and state law, as well as social science research, support the least-restrictive, most family-like placement for youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Despite that, many youth, particularly older youth, in both systems continued to be placed in congregate care at alarming rates. The risks and concerns of congregate care placement are heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorneys play a key role in advocating to get and keep their clients out of congregate care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Join attorneys from around the country to learn why congregate care placement is particularly risky during the pandemic, and what attorneys can do to zealously advocate for their clients that are placed in or may be placed in congregate care. Participants will walk away with best practices and advocacy tips that are applicable during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.


View this recorded webinar here.



Jennifer Rodriguez, JD, Executive Director, Youth Law Center

Jennifer Pokempner, JD, Senior Attorney, Juvenile Law Center

Tom Welshonce, JD, Supervisor, KidsVoice


Accredited for 2 hours of CLE in Colorado.  CLE approval in at least one state can streamline an attorney’s CLE application in another state.  Check with your jurisdiction for details on simplified CLE applications and online/on-demand learning requirements.   All the documents needed to support your CLE application are posted here: 

This webinar is part of NACC’s ongoing series of responsive training measures to support attorney practice in the COVID-19 pandemic.  The session is open to members AND non-members.


Trauma-Responsive Skills for Lawyers During COVID-19

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting your practice?  What impacts are you seeing in yourself and/or your clients?  Join presenters Cynthia Bowkley and Rebecca Stahl, attorneys who are trained in somatic experiencing, who will discuss how stress and trauma manifest physically, mentally, and emotionally in attorneys and their clients.  The presenters will offer simple, effective, and easy-to-use tools for managing stress and maximizing performance, especially relevant during the current public health crisis.  Attorneys will improve their ability to effectively recognize, respond to, and manage their own traumatic stress responses, and learn how to help clients regulate their trauma reactions in high-stress environments, such as the courtroom.


Webinar Presenters:

Rebecca M. Stahl, JD., LLM, SEP

Cynthia Bowkley , J.D., CPPM, SE Advanced Student 


View this recorded webinar here.


Accredited for 2 hours of CLE in Colorado.  CLE approval in at least one state can streamline an attorney’s CLE application in another state.  Check with your jurisdiction for details on simplified CLE applications and online/on-demand learning requirements. All the documents needed to support your CLE application are posted here: 

This webinar is part of NACC’s ongoing series of responsive training measures to support attorney practice in the COVID-19 pandemic.  The session is open to members AND non-members.


The Next Level: Appellate Practice in Child Welfare Cases

April & May 2020 

(2 CLE Credits each session)

An appeal is a powerful tool in the child welfare system. Not only are appeals a means to challenge legal errors and correct wrongs in individual cases, but they also can create broad change by obtaining precedent-setting decisions on wide-reaching legal questions. In this two-part webinar series on appellate fundamentals in child welfare law, the presenters will provide concrete tools and take-aways to attorneys filing and responding to appeals. This webinar series will be beneficial to both attorneys who have previous experience handling appeals and those who have not yet had the chance to do so.  

Part 1 of the webinar will provide an overview of basic appellate principles and key appellate doctrines such as standing, mootness, jurisdiction, and issue preservation.  Because a strong appeal starts with a sound trial record, the presenters will share pointers from an appellate perspective that attorneys can use in their everyday trial practice. This webinar will prepare attorneys to strengthen their cases before both the trial judge and the appellate bench and help practitioners answer the question: how do you make the best trial record possible from an appellate perspective?  


Part 2 of the webinar will build on Part 1, focusing on the procedural and substantive aspects of appellate practice in greater detail. The presenters will provide tips on drafting persuasive and powerful briefs and dispositive motions, give a refresher on effective usage of citations and proper formats, and offer guidance on how to prepare for and present an effective oral argument.


Webinar Presenters

Melissa Colangelo, JD - Children's Law Center (Washington, DC)

Abraham ‘Abe’ Sisson, JD - Delaney McKinney, LLP


Zealous Advocacy During COVID-19: Practical Tips and Best Practices

Thursday, April 2, 2020

In the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of life have dramatically changed – schools, court hearings, social events. What has not changed, however, are the critical and urgent needs of youth involved in the child welfare system.  Join advocates from around the country who will share guidance and practical tips to safeguard and advance the rights of youth in the child welfare system during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Practitioners will walk away with concrete tools to determine what ongoing and unique client needs present themselves during these times and how to maintain, modify, and increase zealous advocacy amid the pandemic.

Webinar Presenters:
Jenny Pokempner, JD - Juvenile Law Center
Jennifer Rodriguez, JD - Youth Law Center
Chris Henderson, JD - Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative

Moderator: Kristen Pisani-Jacques, JD - NACC


View this recorded webinar here.


Accredited for 2 hours of CLE in Colorado.  CLE approval in at least one state can streamline an attorney’s CLE application in another state.  Check with your jurisdiction for details on simplified CLE applications and online learning requirements.  All the documents needed to support your CLE application are posted here: 

Additional Resources:

NACC General Membership Webinar on COVID-19

Thursday, March 26, 2020

NACC membership webinar and call to discuss the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the child welfare system, on attorney practice, and for vulnerable children and families.  We know many practitioners, from organizations to government agencies to solo firms, are facing financial and logistical burdens in the current situation and we want to provide space for exchange and support.  NACC staff will share what we have learned to date and provide members an opportunity for members to brainstorm challenges in their practice during this crisis. 


Youth and families experiencing the child welfare system are uniquely vulnerable to the impact and ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Caregiver health, placement changes, school closures, court delays and more present new and emerging considerations for advocates to swiftly assess and address.  NACC is collecting and sharing resources here to keep our community informed and prepared to safeguard the rights and well-being of young people.  See NACC’s COVID-19 Resource Hub:



How To Use the Federal Reasonable Efforts Requirement to Advocate for Older Youth (2 CLE Credits)

Tuesday March 17, 2020

Advocating for older youth in foster care presents unique challenges, barriers, and opportunities. While laws and service delivery have improved over time for transition-aged youth, data on permanency and transition outcomes continue to show that large numbers of older youth are leaving foster care without permanency and the skills they need to thrive as adults.  Recent developments in federal child welfare legislation can bolster advocates’ ability to improve permanency and transition outcomes for older youth. And longstanding provisions, like the reasonable efforts requirement, can be marshaled to support improved planning and services for older youth.


This webinar will examine the key provisions of federal legislation that can be used to improve outcomes for older youth. The presenters will offer advocacy tips and strategies for incorporating these statutes in cases involving older youth. The webinar will also discuss common barriers to achieving permanency for older youth and the acquisition of adult living competencies after foster care, creative ways to address and mitigate those barriers, and how to empower clients to be active participants in their case plans. Through hypotheticals and case studies, participants will leave with concrete strategies for how to use the language of reasonable efforts to lead to stronger outcomes for youth emancipating from foster care.


Webinar Presenters

Kristen Pisani-Jacques, JD 

Jenny Pokempner, JD


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

February 4, 2020 (1 CLE Credit)

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.

Jessica Donohue-Dioh, MSW, Ph.D.


New Legal Resources for Incorporating the Family First Act into Your Practice in 2020 (2 CLE Credits)

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.


Webinar Presenters

Prudence Beidler Carr, ABA Center on Children and the Law

Cristina Ritchie Cooper, ABA Center on Children and the Law

Moderated by Allison Green, NACC Legal Director


View this recorded webinar here.

This webinar is available to all, members and nonmembers alike, thanks to funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Additional Resources:

Tool for Engaging the Legal Community in Family First Implementation

Leveraging the Family First Prevention Services Act to Improve the Title IV-E Gap

Legal Professional Roles Implementing Family First

Family First and Legal Representation


Accredited for 2 hours of CLE in Colorado.  CLE approval in at least one state can streamline an attorney’s CLE application in another state.  Check with your jurisdiction for details on simplified CLE applications and online learning requirements.  All the documents needed to support your CLE application are posted here: 

Child Welfare Year in Review (2 CLE Credits)


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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