Effects of an Interdisciplinary Approach to Parental Representation in Child Welfare

Researchers analyzed the impact of interdisciplinary representation (i.e., having a legal team which incorporates other professionals for parents in child welfare proceedings. They found that when parents received interdisciplinary representation, children spent an average of 118 fewer days in foster care during the four years following the abuse or neglect case filing. Children whose parents received interdisciplinary representation achieved overall permanency, reunification, and guardianship more quickly.

Legal Representation in the Juvenile Dependency System: Travis County, Texas’ Parent Representation Pilot Project

This study examines outcomes related to a parent representation pilot program in Travis County, Texas. Researchers collected data from 172 parents involved in the juvenile dependency system. Their independent variable was attorney representation and the dependent variables were (1) return to the parent or dismissal of the juvenile dependency petition, (2) permanent management conservatorship, (3) relative or guardianship care, and (4) aging out of the system. There were 52 pilot cases and 61 control cases.

High-Quality Legal Representation for Parents in Child Welfare Cases Results in Improved Outcomes for Families and Potential Cost Savings

This article describes three parent-representation programs: New York City’s Center for Family Representation; Detroit’s Center for Family Advocacy; and Washington State’s Office of Public Defense Parent Representation Program. The article also provides recommendations for evaluating and expanding programs like these.

Final Report of the Impact of Legal Representation on Child Custody Decisions Among Families with a History of Intimate Partner Violence Study

This study tested whether legal representation of DV victim in child custody decisions leads to greater protections and visitation decisions when compared to those who are not represented. When individuals had legal representation, in comparison to those who did not have legal representation but who qualified for legal aid, the DV victim was 85 percent more likely to have denied visitation to the abusing parent and 77 percent more likely to have restrictions placed on the abusing parent’s visitation (if granted at all).

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

This is a preliminary report on the effect legal representation has on parents involved in Mississippi’s juvenile dependency system. Providing legal representation to parents in the juvenile dependency system is found to improve outcomes for children (p. 3). The results described in this report are descriptive. They also find that providing legal representation to parents in juvenile dependency cases increases the likelihood the parents themselves attend court.