By: Britany Orlebeke, Xiaomeng Zhou, Ada Skyles, and Andrew Zinn. Published by: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Published in 2016.
Between 2015 and 2015, the University of Michigan Law school designed an intervention in partnership with Georgia and Washington State called QIC-ChlidRep. QIC-ChildRep was designed to raise the level of practice among attorneys representing children in welfare dependency cases and the effects on the outcomes and attorney behavior.
The intervention was designed with six skills in mind: 1) enter the child’s world, 2) assess child safety, 3) actively evaluate needs, 4) advance case planning, 5) develop case theory, and 6) advocate effectively. 146 attorneys in Georgia and 118 attorneys in Washington participated in the study. At random, attorneys were assigned to a control group (they did not receive the intervention) or a treatment group (they received the intervention).
The researchers find that children assigned to treatment attorneys in Washington were 40 percent more likely than children represented by control attorneys to experience permanency within six months. In Georgia, there was no difference in time between the treatment and control groups.
- “Attorneys trained in the QIC-ChildRep model, providing client-directed representation, and appointed early in the case, may achieve faster permanency for older children than attorneys who have not been trained in the model. These attorneys may be better able to influence situations where the course of action is clearer (child should go home), and where the voice of the child may have a stronger impact (child wants to go home). (Washington site)” (p. 16).
- “Forming a “community of practice” may be difficult to implement without initial attorney buy-in. The most common hypothesis voiced by Georgia project partners for lower engagement after the initial two-day training was that attorney buy-in was negatively affected by the initial presentation of the project as a requirement. The lack of opportunity to consent to participate was considered a significant barrier to maintaining attorney participation after the 2-day training. In Washington, where attorneys consented to participate in the treatment with the understanding they could drop out at any time, engagement of attorneys over the evaluation period was more successful. (Both sites)” (p. 17).