ABA Policies and Standards of Representation

ABA Policies and Standards of Representation

The American Bar Association Section on Litigation, Children’s Rights Division, has developed and will present the Model Act Governing Representation of Children in Abuse and Neglect Proceedings to the ABA House of Delegates at the Annual Meeting in August. For more information about the Model Act, or to learn how to find delegates in your state, please contact Catherine Krebs

ABA Standards of Practice for Lawyers Who Represent Children in Abuse and Neglect Cases (February 1996)
All children subject to court proceedings involving allegations of child abuse and neglect should have legal representation as long as court jurisdiction continues. These Abuse and Neglect Standards are meant to apply when a lawyer is appointed for a child in any legal action based on:
(a) a petition filed for protection of the child;
(b) a request to a court to change legal custody, visitation, or guardianship based on allegations of child abuse or neglect based on sufficient cause; or
(c) an action to terminate parental rights.

ABA Policy - Counsel for Children Enhancement (February 1987)
The ABA requests State and local bar associations determine the extent to which statutory law and court rules in their States guarantee the right to counsel for children in juvenile court proceedings; and ascertain the extent to which, irrespective of the language in their State statutory laws and court rules, counsel is in fact provided for children in juvenile court proceedings and the extent to which the quality of representation is consistent with the standards and policies of the American Bar Association.

ABA Policy - Guardians Ad Litem (February 1992)
The ABA requests every state and territory meet the full intent of the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, whereby every child in the United States who is the subject of a civil child protection related judicial proceedings will be represented at all stages of these proceedings by a fully-trained, monitored, and evaluated guardian ad litem in addition to appointed legal counsel

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