ABA Center on Children and the Law
American Bar Association
1050 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036
Telephone: (202) 662-1720
Funded by the ABA Young Lawyers Division in 1978, the ABA Center on Children and The Law’s Mission is to promote access to justice for children and families. The Center’s team of attorneys and core staff work on a diverse portfolio of national, regional and local projects in the children’s law field throughout the country. Center projects are unified by two complementary goals: improving legal representation and improving the legal systems that impact children and families.
No direct representation of clients is undertaken by the Center. The Center also houses the National Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues. This Resource Center provides free or low-cost training, technical assistance and consultation to agencies and courts on all legal and judicial aspects of the child welfare system.
Center staff provides technical assistance and consultation to attorneys, judges, and child protection professionals, produces a wide range of publications and scholarly policy studies, has an extensive training program and holds a bi-annual national conference on children and the law. Topics addressed by the center include: abuse and neglect, adoption, child support, custody disputes, delinquency, family preservation, guardian ad litem, HIV-positive children, kinship care and foster care, law guardian, parental child abduction, and permanency planning.
The Center works with state child welfare agencies to train attorneys and social workers, and has conducted extensive child welfare policy studies to assist states updating their child welfare laws and procedures. After performing a policy study, the center can recommend and help implement changes – including drafting legislation, court rules, and policy standards, and preparing attorney and caseworker training based on new laws, policies and practices.