State of Child Representation Practice in the U.S.A

In this section we attempt to capture the state of child representation in the USA at this moment in time. Representing children is an evolving, and mostly improving, area of the law. One of the goals of the QIC-ChildRep is to gather together all the statutes, legal authority, academic writings and social science research on representation of children in child welfare cases. We hope that this compilation will assist the scholar, policy-maker and practitioner alike. 

We also realize that much useful information is not of the sort that can be gathered by traditional legal research methods. We invite and encourage (nay, beg) any who know of additional information within our scope –representing children in child welfare proceedings – to share it with us. We also invite suggestions for improving our presentation of this information.  We even appreciate and invite constructive criticism. Please contact us at qic-childrep@umich.edu with your ideas.

We aspire to facilitate a knowledge stream that will go at least two ways – from the case service level to policy-makers/researchers and from policy-makers/researchers to the case service level. This two way communication should be for the mutual benefit of both groups. Policy-makers and data collectors need to know what is happening on the ground,what the significant questions are and what is most relevant and helpful to actually representing children. The direct case service folks can benefit from the broader view offered by the researchers:  How have other child lawyers coped with common questions. In light of limited time and resources, what actions by the child representative are most likely to have a beneficial effect for the child client? What supports and supervision of child lawyers are present in other jurisdictions? What are the options for organizational structures for delivering legal services to children? 

In this section you will find:

·       A compilation of each of the 50 State Laws in a uniform format for ease of comparison and analysis

·       A compilation of the social science Evaluations of Child Representation along with links to the full reports

·       A compilation of the Academic Literature on child representation with abstracts and links to the full articles

Our QIC empirical data collection from our Research Design implemented through our Research and Demonstration Projects will take some years to come to fruition. In the meantime, our hope is that this collection our knowledge will be helpful to the field and to policy-makers as we all strive to improve child representation and as this dynamic area of the law continues to grow and mature.