The unusual and complex nature of child welfare in America has significant implications for the child’s legal advocate. The U.S. Children’s Bureau identified inadequate representation of children as a chief obstacle to achieving a well-functioning child welfare system. Despite a widespread conviction that children ought to be independently represented in child abuse and neglect court proceedings, there are still questions surrounding who is best suited to represent the child, the duties and responsibilities of the child advocate and how best to maximize the organization and delivery of child welfare services.
This practical guide shares findings from the National Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System (QIC-ChildRep), a project of the University of Michigan Law School supported by the U.S. Children’s Bureau. Lawyers trained in the Six Core Skills of the QIC Best Practice Model improved process and outcomes for children. The book identifies:
· Rationale for the QIC Best Practice Model and the Six Core Skills;
· Specifics of the training in the Six Core Skills;
· Lawyer voices as they implemented the new approach;
· Improved child outcomes based on random assignment experimental design;
· Profile of lawyers representing children, their major activities, and the impact;
· Empirical support for social worker/lawyer teams representing children in child welfare cases; and
· Recommendations for the future of child representation based on the QIC experience.