U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Why Quality Legal Representation Matters for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders

Event Dates

This conversation will explore the attributes of quality legal representation for parents involved in child welfare proceedings. Although all legal professionals serve an important role on a family treatment court (FTC) team, parent attorneys play a critical role to ensure reasonable efforts are made on behalf of families affected by substance use disorders to have access to quality services to prevent removal and support timely reunification and permanency. Attendees will learn how FTC teams and their parent attorney partners can work together toward a shared vision of accountability for families involved in the FTC and child welfare system.

The Learning Academy is offering numerous technical assistance and training resources on this topic. A pre-recorded video presentation (30 minute duration) will be released in advance of this event with a Team Discussion Guide so FTC practitioners can view and engage in discussion together. Then join us for this live webinar event on May 19, which will feature a facilitated discussion with the following host and panelists: 

  • Tessa Richter, Senior Program Associate, Children and Family Futures
  • Mimi Laver, American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law
  • Melissa Thompson, Executive Director, Colorado Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel
  • Graham Pepper, Attorney in Jefferson County, Colorado  

The conversation will also explore the importance of advocacy on behalf of families whose are affected by disruption in family time and other critical case plan activities as a result of the current public health crisis. A Call to Action Guide will be provided to equip attendees with important next steps to translate learning into practice.

Learning Objectives: 
1.    Understand the important role parent attorneys play in family dependency cases
2.    Highlight key principles and best practice strategies to provide early and quality legal representation, leading to improved child welfare outcomes
3.    Learn from legal professionals at the national, state, and local levels who are working collaboratively to ensure reasonable efforts are made for families
4.    Identify key next steps for FTC teams to partner with quality legal representation as a key stakeholder in the collaborative 

Date Created: April 22, 2020