Millions of children are involved in the child welfare system, including children who have been separated from their parent or guardian, children at risk of separation, and children and youth who are also involved in the juvenile or criminal justice systems. Many children involved in these systems face barriers to justice in the courts and are deeply impacted by poor outcomes in the foster care system. Negative court experiences and outcomes are often exacerbated by racial and economic inequality and other biases that affect children’s opportunities for education, health care, housing, and other critical supports. The rights, well-being, and opportunities of all children in the child welfare system must be protected. This requires effective assistance of legal counsel.
NACC believes all children involved in child welfare proceedings need lawyers who are well-trained to ensure that their voices are heard, their rights are protected, their needs are met, and that the best possible outcomes are achieved – outcomes where children are raised on a path toward success in loving and supportive families. The child welfare court system works best when all parties are represented by high-quality, well-trained lawyers.
NACC advances the rights and opportunities of children in the child welfare system by ensuring they have the right to effective assistance of counsel. We provide programs and resources that improve the quality of legal representation for children, parents and agencies; support a community of hard-working and dedicated professionals and help attract and retain diverse talent in the children’s legal advocacy profession; and we advocate for policies that advance children’s rights, including the right to counsel.
Millions of children are involved in the child welfare system, including children who have been separated from their parent or guardian, children at risk of separation, and children and youth who are also involved in the juvenile or…