Children's Rights Litigation


In-depth analysis and practical advice on topics relevant to your practice. Find all of the Children's Rights Litigation Committee’s articles in this archive.


Preserving Families Through High-Quality Pre-Petition Representation
By Amber Gilson and Michelle Jungers – March 4, 2021
Iowa Legal Aid’s Parent Representation Project has provided extended representation and services to nearly 300 clients, keeping a total of 468 children out of the juvenile court system.

Juvenile Expungement: Running a Court-Based Help Desk During a Pandemic
By Natanya M. Pope – March 4, 2021
Foot traffic from within the Juvenile Center and proximity to its partners fueled a momentum that resulted in more people visiting the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk. That momentum was abruptly interrupted on March 17, 2020.

Time to Rebuild and Reimagine: Reflecting on Four Hard Years in Children’s Immigration Law
By Dalia Castillo-Granados, Chloe Walker, Vickie Giambra, Laura Egan, and Yasmin Yavar – January 11, 2021
With the Trump administration ending, there will surely be changes made to the immigration system and our ability to protect immigrant children. The hope, and the work, is to ensure that they are the right ones.

Justice and Lisa Montgomery
By Noy Davis – January 8, 2021
This case confirms the important work child protection can but often fails to do and calls out for pathways to more broadly reach traumatized children and adults to offer healing from and mitigation of the impacts of abuse.


McGirt Injects Steroids into the Indian Child Welfare Act
By Judge Bob Murphy – December 15, 2020
Usual state practices of undermining federal legislation favorable to Indians is nothing short of impermissible statutory construction, and to allow such would be the rule of the strong, not the rule of law.

Increasing Pre-Petition Legal Advocacy to Keep Families Together
By Gianna Giordano and Jey Rajaraman – December 15, 2020
Since the inauguration of its prevention work, Legal Services of New Jersey has received more than 200 referrals from across the state and not one child involved in those cases has been removed.

Mind the Gap: Kids at Risk of Falling Through the Cracks in Transition to ECSE
By Marisol Garcia and Lisa Morrow – December 15, 2020
Steps advocates can take to ensure that children are receiving the early childhood special education services to which they are entitled.

Addressing Basic Needs to Reduce Court Involvement—Poverty Is the Elephant in the Room
By Anne Bader-Martin – December 15, 2020
For the underserved population in crisis, if some fairly basic resource were available, it might change everything.

Where Is It Safe and Legal to Give Children Reasonable Independence?
By Diane L. Redleaf – September 30, 2020
A review of a 50-state survey of criminal and child protection laws and some opportunities and challenges to changing those policies.

Narrowing Neglect Laws Means Ending State-Mandated Helicopter Parenting
By Diane L. Redleaf – September 11, 2020
How broad neglect laws undermine childhood independence, and a review of legislative efforts to address it.

The Compass: Gathering Youth Resources in a Time of Crisis
By Chris Ivy – September 11, 2020
A global resource designed to help vulnerable children, youth, and families quickly identify local resources, services, and protections still available around the world during the pandemic.

Privacy and Confidentiality Tips for Virtual Hearings
By Cathy Krebs – July 1, 2020
A few considerations to keep in mind while you navigate the many logistical issues involved in remote court hearings.

Using Pro Bono Lawyers to Expand Access to Justice in School Discipline Cases
By Acena Beck – June 11, 2020
Starting and maintaining a pro bono program, using volunteers outside of direct representation, and identifying and overcoming challenges

The Risk of Hidden Foster Care During COVID-19
By Angie Schwartz and Cathy Krebs – June 1, 2020
The pandemic has resulted in significant challenges for our systems, but it cannot be used as a justification for separating families without due process.

Advocating for Kinship Placement During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Andrew Cohen and Cathy Krebs– May 6, 2020
Placement with kin is more important now than ever before. 

Privacy Considerations for Remote Client Conversations
By Cathy Krebs – April 27, 2020
Some tips for maintaining consistent connection with child clients while ensuring lawyer-client confidentiality is not breached.

Are Special Education Services Required in the Time of COVID-19?
By Jennifer Gavin – March 31, 2020
School districts must always provide a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities.

Addressing Hidden Foster Care: The Human Impact and Ideas for Solutions
By Angie Schwartz and Cathy Krebs – March 31, 2020
Can the separation of a parent and child, without a court review or due process and often without a plan for reunification, after the insistence and involvement of a child welfare agency ever be truly “voluntarily”?

Legal Representation for the Youngest Clients: A Holistic Approach
By Tori Porell – March 31, 2020
Attorneys who represent young children have a critical role to play in ensuring that their clients not only achieve permanency as quickly as possible but also receive the specialized services they need to get the best start on their way to a bright future.

Government-Funded Discrimination in the Child Welfare System
By Cathy Krebs and Currey Cook – January 8, 2020
The Trump administration is effectively removing existing nondiscrimination protection for beneficiaries and participants in scores of federal programs and explicitly allowing discrimination by providers.


Fighting Fear of Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies with Facts
By Marisol Garcia and Eliza Presson – December 12, 2019
Advocates for children should make sure they understand not only the specifics of the public charge rule but also the broader climate of fear in which immigrant families are living.

A Place for Bullying Protections in School Lawyering
By Jackie Ross, Miranda Johnson, B. Alvarez, and Theodore Gelderman – December 12, 2019
Few attorneys practice in the area of school bullying; the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic at Loyola University Chicago School of Law recently began representing bullying victims.

Using Reflective Case Consultation to Battle Burnout and Secondary Traumatic Stress
By Kim Cobb, Elise Melrose, Alison Stankus, and Alexandra Vargo – December 12, 2019
Over time, we have seen a cultural shift in our office.

L.A. County’s Juvenile Mental Health Court: A Unique Approach to Reducing Recidivism
By Kelly Rain Collin – December 12, 2019
Serving youths with complex learning and mental health needs requires a coordinated team of multidisciplinary professionals. 

Using Legal Services to Keep Children in Families: The F.I.R.S.T. Clinic
By Tonya Wall and Adam Ballout – October 3, 2019
Our children should be our top priority, rather than being lost and forgotten. The F.I.R.S.T. Clinic will allow children to remain in their homes, avoiding out-of-home placement. 

Starting the Conversation about Secondary Trauma
By Dawn D’Amico – October 3, 2019
While we are working with and caring for traumatized youth, we need to remember to care for ourselves.

Why Relative Placement Is Best for a Child in Need of Care
By Avery Alexson Guidry – October 3, 2019
While a foster home can care for a child, there are often many relatives willing to step up, and there is no comparison to the benefits of a family’s love and connection.

My Path to a Career in Children’s Rights
By Taylor Simoné Madison – October 3, 2019
I could no longer settle for my ability to make a difference as a cheer coach. I knew that going to law school would give me the power I needed to help.

Trauma, Resilience, and the Impact on Learning
By Eliza M. Hirst – July 2, 2019
When a child’s attorney forges a strong connection with the child and understands the brain science behind the impact of trauma, the child will often have a better chance at obtaining educational success and permanency.

Incorporating an Individualized Education Plan into Your Client’s Defense
By Cristina F. Freitas, Debbie F. Freitas, and Alexandra G. Roark – July 2, 2019
Detailed and specific data regarding your child client’s inherent abilities, baseline functioning, and necessary accommodations can translate into better representation at school meetings and in the courtroom.

Alleging Retaliation on Behalf of Students with Disabilities
By Rosa K. Hirji – July 2, 2019
Retaliation claims must be strictly alleged and meet the evidentiary standard to be successful.

Vaccination Law 101: A Guide for Children’s Lawyers
By Christal Cammock and Jennifer Baum – July 2, 2019
Recent measles outbreaks across the country have fueled new debate about vaccines and renewed interest in vaccination law, especially as it concerns children.

School Closing Victory—The Fight to Save National Teachers Academy
By Katherine Gladson and Candace Moore – March 22, 2019
It has been very difficult for communities to push back against proposed school closures.

Twenty Years of Progress in Advocating for a Child’s Right to Counsel
By Amy Harfeld – March 22, 2019
There is much work to be done before the promise of full legal rights for dependent children is realized.

Can Children’s Attorneys Transform the Child Welfare System?
By William Booth, Angela Orkin, James Walsh, and John Walsh – January 15, 2019
We believe that permanency-focused advocacy can dramatically improve the lives of our clients and the system as a whole.

The Collective Power of Youth
By Betsy Fordyce – January 15, 2019
Foster youth–led organizing should be the strategy for system change. They are ready to use their voices; the best lawyers can do is listen, support, and follow their lead.

Leveraging the FFPSA for Older Youth: Prevention Provisions
By Jenny Pokempner – January 15, 2019
The Family First Prevention Services Act provides many opportunities to transform the child welfare system into a system of support that is focused on prevention and strengthening families.

Leveraging the FFPSA for Older Youth: Reduction of Group Care Provisions
By Jenny Pokempner – January 15, 2019
Because older youth are overrepresented in group care settings, they should benefit from the Family First Prevention Services Act if we work to develop the placements and services that are needed.

Leveraging the FFPSA for Older Youth: Improving Transitions
By Jenny Pokempner – January 15, 2019
Ideally, several provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act, such as expanding Chafee services, will result in more youth leaving the system to permanency and not aging out.

From the Editor: Is It Lawyers' Job to Change the System?
By Cathy Krebs – January 15, 2019
Small actions can make big changes, and zealous advocacy on behalf of each client is not only our job but it also can push an entire system to do better for all children we serve.


Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline
By Marisol Garcia – September 24, 2018
MHAP for Kids is a lifeline that minimizes children’s exposure to the juvenile justice system and removes obstacles to mental health treatment and care, helping them lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Partnering with Young Leaders for Change
By Darla Bardine and Yorri Berry – September 24, 2018
Let us all dare to believe young people are capable, conscious, and courageous enough to help lead us in preventing youth and young adult homelessness.

“Say What?”—Using Interpreters in Children’s Cases
By Jennifer Baum – September 24, 2018
Some essential practice points and resources to help lawyers improve outcomes in cases involving clients who are not fluent in English.

Radical Imagination, Fearless Lawyering
By Cathy Krebs – July 9, 2018
Quotes, ideas, and thoughts from the day-long symposium on 20 years of work by children’s rights advocates.

20 Years of Lawyers Advocating for and with Youth Experiencing Homelessness
By Casey Trupin – July 9, 2018
The work of individual attorneys, private and corporate counsel, policymakers, and the youth themselves has started to flip the legal system to one that is proactive.

Rejecting Harsh Sentences for Children: 20 Years of Sentencing Reform
By Heather Renwick – July 9, 2018
The movement to end life sentences for children is critical because the practice is a human rights violation that disproportionately affects children of color and children who have experienced trauma.

How Lawyers Can Make a Difference in Reducing Mass Incarceration for Juveniles
By Isabel Sistachs – July 9, 2018
Incarceration has become a problem rather than a solution.

Legal Protections for Immigrant Youth under Threat
By Martin Gauto – June 18, 2018
The current administration has found another way to undercut the important legal protections created to ensure the fair and humane treatment of immigrant youth by our immigration system.

20 Years of Advocating for LGBTQ Youth in Out-of-Home Care
By M. Currey Cook and Cathren Cohen – April 17, 2018
Change has come for many of these unofficial exceptions of youth services, but full inclusion still eludes far too many.

Plucked from Legislative History: A Review of Major Reforms and Their Impact on Children in the Past 20 Years
By Nicole Scialabba – April 17, 2018
An evaluation on whether proposed impacts of major reforms and legislation of the past two decades align with actual impacts.

Sleep and Your Health
By Luisa Bazan, M.D.
Are you feeling run down, depressed, or forgetful? Do you have high blood pressure? Lack of sleep could be to blame.

G.R.A.C.E. Court . . . Providing an Outlet for Children Involved in Human Trafficking
By Janice Haywood – January 16, 2018
This specialized Florida court refers juvenile victims of commercial sexual exploitation and labor trafficking to the appropriate service providers.

20 Years of Policy Advocacy Against Zero Tolerance: A Critical Review
By Rosa K. Hirji – January 16, 2018
Policy solutions are short-lived; instead, advocates need to respond to the attacks on the very nature of public education and the reversal of federal structures that protect civil rights.

Seeking Justice from the Bench
By Hon. Bridget Mary McCormack – January 16, 2018
A judge expresses gratitude and words of encouragement to child welfare attorneys.


UN Comment from Paper to Practice: Realizing the Human Rights of Children and Youth Who Are Street Connected
By Cathy Krebs – December 15, 2017
Leaders shared the goal of drafting principles for implementing the UN General Comment on Children in Street Situations.

Proving I Exist: Strategies for Assisting Youth in Obtaining Identification Documents
By Laura Kolb and Jenny Pokempner – October 2, 2017
Lawyers can help by offering legal clinics, enforcing transition planning requirements, and advocating for new laws and policies to improve youth access to vital documents.

How Implicit Bias Impacts Our Children in Education
By Nicole Scialabba – October 2, 2017
More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, there is still much work to be done to achieve equality.

Keeping Transgender and Gender-Expansive Youth Safe in Out-of-Home Care
By Christina Wilson Remlin – October 2, 2017
The Safe Havens report highlights gaps in law and policy that must be filled in order to protect youth from discrimination.

Can Pro Bono Legal Services Help to End Youth Homelessness?
By Cathy Krebs and Shannon Prown – October 2, 2017
The ABA’s Homeless Youth Legal Network (HYLN) Pro Bono project provides support to volunteer lawyers as they take on this critical work.

How to Use Litigation to Improve Mental Health Care for Children
By Lisa Freeman – July 12, 2017
Class action litigation may be the most effective tool to force government actors to address the mental health needs of children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Closed Doors and Dead Ends: Ensuring Access to School for All Children
By Justin Deabler, Diane Lucas, and Ajay Saini – July 12, 2017
The New York State Office of the Attorney General’s school enrollment initiative serves as a model that state and local officials across the United States can use to protect immigrants’ rights.

Tips for Safety Planning for Children of Undocumented Parents
By Jennifer Baum – July 12, 2017
With proper planning, advocates can help reduce the potential trauma to children at risk of losing their parents through deportation.

What Rights Do Students Have in the Charter School Era?
By Jessica Schneider – March 30, 2017
Though charter schools are exempt from certain state laws and regulations, charter school students are entitled to the same federal protections as traditional public school students.

A Mobile Legal Office: Meeting Kids Where They Are
By Stacey Violante Cote and Lori Nordstrom – March 30, 2017
By bringing legal services to homeless youth, they are more likely to know about and get assistance with enforcing their rights.

The Rights of Indian Children: Indian Child Welfare Act Regulations
By Sheldon Spotted Elk – March 30, 2017
Like the horned toad from Ute legend that helped rescue a boy from harm, child advocates can be a tool in a child's hand.

What Educational Benefit Must a School Provide to a Student with a Disability?
By Jamie Schulte – March 30, 2017
The Supreme Court is considering whether a merely more than de minimis educational benefit satisfies a school’s obligation to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities.

Breaking Bias: Scandal in a Lay Guardian ad Litem Office
By Adam Ballout – January 9, 2017
Manufacturing harm: how a volunteer program meant to help children ended up hurting thousands of them.

The Hidden Cost of Empathy: How to Address Secondary Trauma Stress in a Child Law Office
By Tamara Steckler and Vicki E. Light – January 9, 2017
The empathy that brings people to direct service legal work also causes them to be deeply affected by their clients’ personal traumas.

Tips for Young Lawyers: How to Avoid Burnout as a Children's Lawyer
By Cathy Krebs – January 9, 2017
Addressing compassion fatigue is essential to providing ethical and zealous legal representation of children.

Expunging Criminal Records Promotes Justice
By Kele Onyejekwe – February 24, 2016
The expungement of a criminal record allows your client to move forward from a past mistake to pursue a full civic life.


School Closings: Challenges for Students, Communities, and Litigators
By Katherine Gladson – October 3, 2016
What’s the harm? And what can be done?

Should Juveniles Be Charged as Adults in the Criminal Justice System?
By Nicole Scialabba – October 3, 2016
Results of “tough on crime” policies demonstrate that they have failed.

The White House Foster Care & Technology Hackathon
By Frank P. Cervone – October 3, 2016
The Legal Workgroup drafted a “Bill of Rights for Information-Sharing in Child Welfare.”

Criminalizing Poverty Through Fines, Fees, and Costs
By Monica Llorente – October 3, 2016
An overview of the webinar “Criminalizing Poverty: Debtor’s Prison in the 21st Century.”

Legal Care as a Tool to Improve Children's Mental Health
By Amanda M. Walsh – June 27, 2016
Free, accessible legal assistance as part of children's mental health treatment plans.

Making the Case to End Solitary Confinement for Juveniles
By Nicole Scialabba – June 27, 2016
Juveniles in solitary confinement are more likely to develop mental health problems.

Art Works for Flint's Detained Youth
By Shelley R. Spivack – June 27, 2016
Visual arts, theater, spoken-word poetry, and dance workshops for youth detained in one of the most distressed cities in our nation.

Engaging Youth in Court: A National Analysis
By Sharon Elstein – June 27, 2016
New data show that youth want to come to court, and courts are able to make better decisions when they do.

Improving Care for Foster Children
By Shannon Hernández – April 12, 2016
Some of the biggest challenges to caregivers and corresponding suggestions for improvement.

Teaming Up for Homeless Youth
By Dieter Schmitz and Jaclyn Pampel – April 12, 2016
A resource to answer the wide range of legal questions faced by homeless youth.

A New Resource—Representing Parents in Child Welfare Cases: Advice and Guidance for Family Defenders
By Mimi Laver – April 12, 2016
The perspective and knowledge parents' lawyers need to provide their clients with excellent representation.

The Young Lawyer's Guide to Indigent Defense
By Cleveland M. Patterson III – July 31, 2014
A few pointers for young attorneys on how to represent indigent defendants where there is no local public defender's office.

Protecting Foster Youth from Unsafely Administered Psychotropic Drugs
By Sara Bartosz – January 13, 2016
Dependency court lawyers must play a meaningful role in preventing unsafely administered medications.

Compassion Fatigue: Caveat Caregiver?
By Jennifer Baum – January 13, 2016
Identify, prevent, and treat the stress that arises from child welfare professionals' constant exposure to the trauma of children.

Needed and Welcome Change: Supporting the Education of Foster Youth
By Noy Davis – January 13, 2016
Recent federal and state laws and programs promote foster youth education and achievement.

Ending Youth Homelessness: What Can Litigators Do?
By Angelica Ramos – January 13, 2016
Advocates must understand the factors impacting homeless kids, the available services, and the legal remedies.


Representing Very Young Children
By Jeanine McKelvey – October 19, 2015
Discover how lawyers in different states and systems are providing zealous advocacy to some of the most vulnerable clients in dependency cases.

The Growth of the Family Defender Movement
By Richard Cozzola – October 19, 2015
ABA Center on Children and the Law Parent Attorney Conference outlines challenges families involved in child welfare cases face and how to respond.

Urban Educational Inequalities: Why the Growing Concern?
By Darryl Irizarry Jr. – July 2, 2015
Are these students being prepared for college or the penitentiary?

International Summit Sets Ambitious Agenda to Aid Street Children
By Shannon Prown and Lourdes M. Rosado – September 18, 2015
Five key issues are addressed relating to street-connected children and youth.

Handling Child Abuse Cases Involving Violent Shaking and Abusive Head Trauma
By P. Leigh Bishop, William H. Branigan, John M. Leventhal, and Mark A. Mittler – June 18, 2015
Careful investigations can protect vulnerable children while minimizing wrongful convictions.

Litigating Shaken Baby Syndrome Allegations in the Child Welfare Context
By Melissa L. Staas – June 18, 2015
The same objectivity should be applied in evaluating abusive head trauma allegations in child protection proceedings as in the criminal justice system.

A Call for Pro Bono Assistance for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children
By Meredith Linsky – June 18, 2015
Attorneys interested in assisting children with immigration matters pro bono should review these resources.

Unaccompanied Child Immigrants: Representation Needs and Efforts
By Monique Sherman – June 18, 2015
Unaccompanied child immigrants need attorneys to assist them in immigration court.

Better Outcomes for Older Youth of Color in Foster Care
By Martha L. Raimon, Kristen Weber, and Amelia Esenstad – March 25, 2015
Professionals and advocates need to know about and attend to these three critical areas.

What Child Welfare Attorneys Need to Know about Shaken Baby Syndrome
By Katherine Judson – March 25, 2015
Health problems and accidents may present the same symptoms as abusive head trauma.

Baker & McKenzie and Google Host Children's Rights Summit
By Amanda Kottke and Trenny Stovall – March 25, 2015
The inaugural summit addressed how disrupting barriers and innovating solutions can improve outcomes for vulnerable youth.

Creative Tech Solutions to Juvenile Expungement
By Sharlyn Grace and Chris Rudd – January 15, 2015
A team of students in Chicago tackle the problem of juvenile records being a barrier to youth employment.

Social Media: Children's Lawyer's Friend and Foe
By Jennifer Baum and Sarah N. Fox – January 15, 2015
With the number of underage Internet users on the rise, attorneys must familiarize themselves with the basics and risks of social media.

Courtroom Educational Advocacy for Children in Foster Care
By Kristin Kelly – January 15, 2015
With the proper tools, training, and judicial oversight, advocates can ensure that children in foster care receive a solid education.

Due Process Rights in Charter Schools
By Kevin C. Moyer – January 15, 2015
Recently released guidance can enable charter schools whose disciplinary practices violate students' due process rights to comply with federal law.


Truancy Lawyering in Status Offense Cases: An Access to Justice Challenge
By Dean Hill Rivkin and Brenda McGee – October 28, 2014
Lawyering reforms may challenge juvenile courts to reexamine their historical role.

Federal Criminal Restitution for Child Pornography Victims
By Dean Hill Rivkin and Brenda McGee – October 28, 2014
Congress responds to the Supreme Court's decision in Paroline v. United States.

Book Review: Changing Lives: Lawyers Fighting for Children
By Monique R. Sherman – October 28, 2014
An excellent guide for attorneys and law students looking to use their legal training to fight on behalf of today's youth.

The Hidden Benefits of Pro Bono
By Deb Mallgrave – October 28, 2014
Can you gain something from charging nothing?

An Urgent Need: Unaccompanied Children and Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings
By Annie Chen – July 14, 2014
Unaccompanied minors without lawful immigration status in the United States face the threat of deportation and desperately need access to competent attorneys that can help them navigate the U.S. legal system.

Unequal Access to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: State Court Adjudication of One-Parent Cases
By Meghan Johnson and Kele Stewart – July 14, 2014
Whether facts of abuse, abandonment, or neglect by one parent alone are sufficient to make one of the required SIJS findings has been subject to divergent interpretations by state courts and has yielded disparate results.

Undocumented Parenting: Immigration Status as a Proxy for Parental Fitness
By Marcia Zug – July 14, 2014
Family and juvenile courts and child welfare agencies routinely express the belief that a parent's undocumented status means the parent is, by definition, unfit, without any additional evidence, despite immigration law's presumption that deported parents retain custody of their children.

Ready, Set, Go to Federal Court: The Hague Child Abduction Treaty, Demystified
By Jennifer Baum – July 14, 2014
As the number of internationally relocating parents grows, so too grows the number of child repatriation cases under the Hague Convention.

Kids and Gun Safety
By Sejal H. Patel – April 10, 2014
Policy considerations for a child's right to be safe.

Addressing the Underlying Issue of Poverty in Child-Neglect Cases
By Maren K. Dale – April 10, 2014
Innovative solutions are needed to prevent poverty from being mistaken as child maltreatment.

Book Review: Handbook on Questioning Children: A Linguistic Perspective, Third Edition
By Robert M. Murphy – April 10, 2014
An essential update to the classic guide on preparing young children to be competent witnesses in court.

The Detroit Center for Family Advocacy: A Call for Replicating an Effective Model
By Robbin C. Pott – January 14, 2014
An attorney, a social worker, and a family advocate join forces to tackle the root issues impacting families.

Championing the Education Rights of Court-Involved Youth
By Nancy Rosenbloom and Nancy Ginsburg – January 14, 2014
Change has been hard fought in New York City.

Are Charter Schools Upholding Student Rights?
By Rosa K. Hirji – January 14, 2014
The Scott B. and Lindsey decisions may encourage charter schools to push certain students out.


Combating Rise of Heroin Abuse in Child-Welfare System
By Debra Rothstein, Sarah A. Smith, and Adolfo Olivas – October 7, 2013
A collaborative effort among legal advocates is crucial to battle the alarming statistics.

The Rights of Children of Same-Sex Couples: In Their Own Words
By Monique R. Sherman – October 7, 2013
An amicus curiae brief gives the children a powerful and persuasive voice in the Supreme Court.

Improving Representation for Parents in the Child-Welfare System
By Mimi Laver – October 7, 2013
Highlights and inspiration from the 2013 Third National Parent Attorneys Conference.

The Plight of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: An Australian Attorney's Perspective
By Jahan Navidi – October 7, 2013
How accessible are legal services for these vulnerable minors?

Fostering Justice Conference Focuses on the Right to Counsel
By Monique R. Sherman – October 7, 2013
A hundred child advocates gathered in Seattle to tackle measurable outcomes, litigation and legislative strategies, effective messaging, and more.

POINT: Embracing Full Participation of Foster Parents in the System
By Shari Shink – July 1, 2013
Foster parents must be permitted to intervene in child-protection cases.

COUNTERPOINT: For Children's Sake
By David J. Lansner – July 1, 2013
Why keeping foster parents out of child-protective cases is paramount.

Tackling Foster Care Age-Out Issues
By Kimberly A. McFarlane – July 1, 2013
Practical ideas and options to better assist youth transitioning out of foster care and into adulthood.

Social Services and Constitutional Rights, a Balancing Act
By Benjamin R. Picker and Jonathan C. Dunsmoor – February 11, 2013
Social-service workers must weigh their duty to protect children against their legal obligation not to commit civil-rights violations.

Say What? Translating Courtroom Colloquies for Youth
By Rosa Peralta – April 2, 2013
The legalese that gets flung around in youth courts often goes right over kids' heads.

How Do We Make Schools Safer?
By Natalie Chap and Liz Sullivan – April 2, 2013
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, a holistic Model Code centered on human rights offers an answer.

Beyond the Courtroom: Part II
By Michael R. Smalz, Robert M. Murphy, and Jane L. Habegger – April 2, 2013
Connecting with legislators is key for lawyers fighting for children's rights.

Beyond the Courtroom: Part I
By Michael R. Smalz, Robert M. Murphy, and Jane L. Habegger – January 31, 2013
Most attorneys litigate, not legislate. Why legislative advocacy should not be overlooked.

Defending Fathers' Rights
By Howard Davidson – January 31, 2013
IA look at a comprehensive partnership to better represent non-resident fathers involved in the child-welfare system.

Measuring a Lawyer's Impact
By Catherine Krebs – January 31, 2013
How can one effectively prove that a lawyer made a difference in a child's life?

Federal Spotlight on the School-to-Prison Pipeline
By Allison R. Brown – January 17, 2013
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and a recent Senate hearing about ending the school-to-prison pipeline, the federal government seems poised to turn its attention to disparate-impact claims.


Zero Tolerance for Online Bullying Can Hamper Free Speech
By Frank D. LoMonte – September 28, 2012
Panicky legislative responses to cyberbullying can damage as many young lives as they benefit.

Representing Court-Involved Youth in Education Cases
By Rachel Shapiro and Margie Wakelin – September 28, 2012
There are state and federal laws that entitle youth with sustained difficulties in school to greater assistance and protection, but these laws are often not followed.

FASD: Identification and Advocacy
By Teresa J. Grogan – September 28, 2012
Failure to identify and address FASDs is a failure to provide the afflicted children with the chance to receive the support systems they need to thrive.

Girls in the Juvenile Justice System: The Case for Girls' Courts
By Sarah Klein – January 5, 2012
We need a new approach to juvenile justice that accounts for females' different paths to violence.

Protecting Mothers Against Gender-Plus Bias: Part 3
By Diane L. Redleaf and Melissa L. Staas – July 9, 2012
Mothers in poverty and teen mothers face gender-plus bias, but a cross-cutting strategy can narrow the grounds for intervention against those who haven't harmed their kids.

Adoption Subsidies Are Unchecked for Fraud
By David J. Lansner and Carolyn A. Kubitschek – July 9, 2012
Hundreds of millions of dollars may have been fraudulently collected by adoptive parents, and states are prohibited from investigating the fraud.

Recognizing and Addressing LGBTQ Issues
By Cindy C. Albracht-Crogan – July 9, 2012
A recent conference featured a panel of attorneys, analysts, advocates, and practitioners who shared how to deal with the struggles of LGBTQ youth.

Protecting Mothers Against Gender-Plus Bias: Part 2
By Diane L. Redleaf, Melissa L. Staas, and Jonathon N. Fazzola – March 29, 2012
The three largest gender-plus categories are domestic violence victims, mothers with a mental illness, and nonoffending mothers held liable for the actions of a partner.

Meeting the Needs of Children with an Incarcerated Parent
By Lynne Reckman, Katie Gates, Meredith Schnug, and Debra Rothstein – March 29, 2012
The best child advocacy occurs when there is a team of professionals, including a mental-health practitioner, to collaborate regarding the overall needs of children.

Five Mistakes for New Child-Welfare Lawyers to Avoid
By Jennifer Baum – March 29, 2012
By avoiding these mistakes, new attorneys can set themselves up for a creative, proactive, and skilled child-welfare-litigation practice.

An Overview of Title IX Liability for Anti-Gay Bullying
By J. Dalton Courson and Abigayle C. Farris – January 23, 2012
Schools must provide students with the type of protection Title IX requires in instances of peer-on-peer sexual harassment of LGBT students.

An Introduction to Child Trafficking in the United States
By Katherine Kaufka Walts – January 9, 2012
The latest government estimates state that approximately 14,500–17,500 men, women, and children are trafficked into the United States each year.

Special Education Advocacy at School Meetings: Part 2
By Erin Han, Janeen Schlotzer, and Richard Cozzola – January 9, 2012
Individual education program meetings can quickly get derailed with many layers of issues, so it is important to have a system to make sure that all of your issues get addressed.

Lessons Learned Through Child Welfare Litigation
By Alet A. Brown – January 9, 2012
Transitioning into the field of child advocacy is not child's play—it requires a new way of thinking and the realization that an advocate's job is to be the voice of the child.

A Voice for the Young Child with an Incarcerated Parent
By Lynne Reckman and Debra Rothstein – January 9, 2012
When a parent is incarcerated, it is important that the systems surrounding the family recognize the significance of the child-parent relationship.

Parent Representation Project Promotes Permanence
By Angelica Ramos – January 9, 2012
The Parent Representation Project was created to enhance the quality of defense representation in dependency and termination hearings in the state of Washington.


The Crisis of Child Identity Theft
By Cathy Krebs and Amy Harfeld – November 21, 2011
Children are targeted for identity theft 51 times more frequently than adults.

Protecting Mothers Against Gender-Plus Bias: Part 1
By Diane L. Redleaf — October 25, 2011
Some mothers risk losing custody of their children because they fall into a gender-specific category, such as being a victim of domestic violence or having depression.

The Changing Landscape of Second-Parent Adoptions
By Leslie M. Fenton and Ann Fenton — October 25, 2011
Despite recent legal victories for same-sex couples, many are stymied when they try to seek legal protection for their relationships with their children.

Special Education Advocacy at School Meetings: Part 1
By Erin Han, Janeen Schlotzer, and Richard Cozzola — October 25, 2011
When working on behalf of a student in need of special education services, most initial advocacy can take place in meetings at the student's public school.

Part 2: LGBTQ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
By Amanda Valentino – June 27, 2011
Advocates for young LGBTQ clients need to take a multidimensional approach to recognize their particular concerns.

The National Conference on Children and the Law
By David Lansner — October 25, 2011
The 14th ABA National Conference on Children and the Law provided advice and training for attorneys representing children.

Conference Provides Resources for Parents' Attorneys
By Darice M. Good and Diana Rugh Johnson — October 25, 2011
The National Parents' Attorneys Conference is a valuable opportunity for parents' attorneys to gather, share ideas, compare notes, and share war stories.

A New Look at Section 504 and the ADA in Special Education Cases
By Mark C. Weber — May 23, 2011
While school districts are cutting back on who is protected under IDEA, a recent amendment to section 504 and the ADA has greatly expanded coverage.

The OCR as a Tool in Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline
By Rosa K. Hirji and Benétta M. Standly — May 23, 2011
How much can we rely on the OCR to remedy the school-to-prison pipeline in communities of color, and does this represent a step forward?

Book Review: Trial Advocacy for the Child Welfare Lawyer
By Ann M. Haralambie — May 23, 2011
Marvin Ventrell's book is a logical extension of the annual RMCATI training programs and fills a void on the bookshelves of child welfare lawyers.

Part 1: LGBTQ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
By Amanda Valentino – January 6, 2011
Although some safeguards are in place to ensure the safety of LGBTQ youth in detention facilities, more can be done to promote awareness and keep all LGBTQ youth safe.

School Expulsion: A Life Sentence?
By Sarah Biehl — March 15, 2011
The parallels between children who have been sentenced to prison and children who lose the right to complete their educations are stark.

Preparing Foster Youth for Adulthood
By Rachel Kleinberg and Patsy Moore — March 15, 2011
Youth still in long-term foster care at the age of majority face significant challenges as they transition into adulthood.

Constance McMillen: Extending the Rights of LGBT Students
By Alysson Mills – January 6, 2011
When Constance McMillen, a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, was told she could not take her girlfriend to the prom, she took a stand.

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Seizure, Questioning of Children in Schools
By Diane L. Redleaf – January 19, 2011
Camreta/Alford v. Greene has the potential to significantly impact children's and parent's interests in privacy, safety, and family life.

The CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010: What Advocates Should Know
By Howard Davidson – January 3, 2011
CAPTA is an important source of funding for child welfare agencies and a source of funding for some innovative dependency court programs.

Counting All Children: ABA Conference Focuses on Truancy
By Laura Faer and Catherine Krebs – November 12, 2010