Exploring Outcomes Related to Legal Representation for Parents Involved in Mississippi’s Juvenile Dependency System, Preliminary Findings

By: Steve Wood, Scott Trowbridge, Martha-Elin Blomquist, Lorie Sicafuse, and Alicia Summers. Published by: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Published on: December 3, 2013

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The executive summary reads: “No constitutional provision exists that grants parents a right to legal counsel in the juvenile dependency system. Many states, however, have created statutes that provide parents with legal representation in juvenile dependency matters. Moreover, organizations such as the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges have identified providing legal representation for parents in the juvenile dependency system as a “best practice.” Prior research indicates that providing legal representation to parents who are involved in the juvenile dependency system is related to several positive outcomes for children. […]

This report presents findings from an examination of differences in short-term juvenile dependency outcomes and parental perceptions in two counties in Mississippi. In Forrest County, differences were examined between those parents who had or did not have legal representation. In Rankin County, differences were examined between those parents who had no legal representation, those parents who were represented by an attorney, and those parents who met with an attorney, but did not receive formal representation (i.e., advice and counsel).”



Categories: Children, Family, Family, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, Researchers and Academics, State-Specific, Victims of Crime

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