Significant progress has been made recently regarding child welfare, legal representation, and efforts to curb child abuse and neglect now that Congress and the U.S. Children’s Bureau are moving to expand protection for children and their legal representation. A major victory was achieved on December 19, 2018, when the U.S. Children’s Bureau changed its policy to allow states to use federal Title IV-E funding for child and parent legal representation. This change will ensure higher quality legal representation for children who are candidates for foster care, children in foster care, or parents preparing and participating in all stages of a child welfare case.
In collaboration with the ABA Center on Children and the Law and the ABA Government Affairs Office, President Bob Carlson sent a letter to Secretary Alex M. Azar II to commend the Department of Health and Human Services for this recent policy change. As articulated in the letter, this new funding for attorneys will produce better outcomes for countless children, families, courts, and child welfare agencies throughout the country. To explain why high quality legal representation is critical for all parties in child welfare proceedings, the ABA created an Infographic on Legal Representation in Child Welfare Proceedings.