Chapin Hall's Evaluation of the QIC-ChildRep Best Practice Model Training for Attorneys Representing Children in Child Welfare is now available in executive summary and full report formats.

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Findings from the evaluation

·      There was an appetite among largely independent and isolated attorneys for learning from experts and from each other. 

·      QIC lawyers changed their approach to the cases in the direction sought by the intervention - greater contact with the child, increased communications with the other involved in the case, and more actively involved in conflict resolution and negotiation activities.

·      This resulted in measurable improvement in case outcomes for at least some children.

o   Children represented by QIC treatment attorneys in Washington State were 40% more likely to experience permanency within six months of placement.


Profile of child representatives

·      Child representation practice constituted less than 20 percent of legal work and income for most attorneys.

·      In the six months prior to the study, attorneys had represented an average of between six and ten children; however, one-third of the attorneys had represented five or fewer child welfare cases.

·      Attorneys were generally experienced, with an average of 13.5 years of practice and were practicing in a number of different fields of law, including divorce and paternity, private adoption, truancy, and juvenile justice.

·      Almost two-thirds of the attorneys found their job as child representatives rewarding, and most thought they had a significant impact on child outcomes.

·      A majority thought compensation was somewhat or very inadequate.

·      Two-thirds of the attorneys did not have psychologists or psychiatrists with whom they could consult.


Activities of child representatives

·      Attorney activity is the greatest at the start of a child’s out of home placement.  Activity declines until a child has been in care over a year and then begins to rise again.

·      Child age is positively associated with the frequency of contact between attorneys and their child clients.  For example, the estimated rate of contact with a 13-year-old adolescent would be almost 45 percent higher than the estimated rate of contact with a 3-year-old toddler.  

·      Attorneys report higher levels of activity with female clients compared to male clients.

·      Children's race/ethnicity is not generally associated with differences in the rates of contact with children, children's family members, or others involved in the case.

·      Attorneys with a higher proportion of child welfare cases spend more time on each case. 

·       An attorney's professed level of responsibility for child welfare-case-related tasks is positively associated with the rates of contact with child clients and children's family members.

·      Attorneys' opinions about the degree to which their work in child welfare cases is rewarding were positively associated with the rates of best practice activities.



There are several articles resulting from the QIC-ChildRep investment that are available or will be forthcoming:

Orlebeke, B., Zinn, A., Duquette, D., & Zhou, X. (2015). Characteristics of Attorneys Representing Children in Child Welfare Cases. Family Law Quarterly, 49(3).

Zinn, A., Orlebeke, B., Duquette, D., & Zhou, X. (Forthcoming). The Organizational Contexts of Child Representation Services In Child Welfare Cases. Family Court Review.

Duquette, D.  (Forthcoming). “Children's Justice: How To Improve Legal Representation Of Children In The Child Welfare System.” American Bar Association Publications.

Future publications related to this research will be posted here.