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June 30, 2020 Rapid Response

Multidisciplinary Legal Representation and its Positive Impact on Reunifications

June is National Reunification Month and to mark the end of the 2020 occasion, speakers highlighted the effectiveness of multidisciplinary legal teams that include lawyers, social work professionals, and advocates who have lived experiences navigating the child welfare system. They explained the Children’s Bureau recent decision to invest federal IVE dollars in the multidisciplinary legal representation model for parents and children, shared details of the 2019 study on this model, and discussed how this model benefits child welfare agencies and most importantly, children and their parents.

Dependency Advocacy Center in Santa Clara, CA was founded on the belief that comprehensive family defense advocacy requires the support of a multidisciplinary team. Part two of this webinar discussed the commitment to this client-centered approach has supported reunification efforts for over a decade and is being adapted to create new prevention strategies for families at risk of system entry.

The webinar provides child welfare system stakeholders the evidence and motivation they need to implement multidisciplinary legal representation in their jurisdictions.

Part 1 Speakers

  • Martin Guggenheim, Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law, NYU School of Law
  • David A. Hansell, Commissioner, Administration for Children’s Services, NYC
  • Dr. Jerry Milner, D.S.W., Associate Commissioner, Children’s Bureau, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
  • Shrounda Selivanoff (Moderator), Social Service Specialist, Washington State Office of Public Defense

Part 2 Speakers (Dependency Advocacy Center)

  • Araceli Cervantes, Mentor Parent, Mentor Parent Program, Dependency Advocacy Center

  • Kira Johnson, Social Worker, Social Worker Program, Dependency Advocacy Center
  • AnnaLisa M. Chung, JD (Moderator), Chief Executive Officer, Dependency Advocacy Center

Joint Sponsor: ABA Center on Children and the Law


Transcript: Multidisciplinary Legal Representation and its Positive Impact on Reunifications

National Reunification Month
Celebrated in June each year, National Reunification Month recognizes the people and efforts around the country that help families to stay together.

Qualitative Study: Effects of an interdisciplinary approach to parental representation in child welfare

Qualitative Study: Understanding the effects of an interdisciplinary approach to parental representation in child welfare

Webinar: Interdisciplinary Parent Representation: Bringing Hope to Families During the Pandemic and Beyond

CIP Talk: Why Multidisciplinary Representation is Beneficial To All

Family Justice Initiative Federal Funding Page

Family Justice Initiative How To on Multidisciplinary Representation

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