The main reasons for not going to law enforcement when experiencing abuse was fear of being stigmatized by their church, family, and community. The researchers reviewed data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System and conducted fieldwork in four rural counties in the Black Belt of Alabama. They find that when women feel more independent, which can be furthered by legal services such as assisting with benefits and outreach, they were more likely to come forward to seek out law enforcement.
Needs and Issues of Latino and Native American Nonparental Relative Caregivers: Strengths and Challenges within a Cultural Context
This study interviewed Latino and Native American grandparents about their social and legal needs. In interviews conducted with Native American caregivers, the article noted “legal custodial issues as critical” and “reported legal aid as a significant need” (p. 364). For those interviewed, Native American grandparents reported a median income of $1,300.
This ACF memo encourages child welfare agencies, courts, administrative offices of the courts, and Court Improvement programs to ensure that parents, children, and child welfare agencies receive high quality legal representation at all stages of child welfare proceedings.
Vivek Sankaran, a professor at University of Michigan, shows how “a lawyer may be able to prevent a child from entering foster care in the first instance. Children may unnecessarily enter foster care because their parents are unable to resolve legal issues that affect their safety and well-being in their home” (p. 1037). Sankaran also describes a new model to provide social and legal advocacy to parents.
Researchers at the University of Chicago conducted an evaluation of a partnership between a legal aid organization and a social service provider for children. They find that when children are represented, they had a higher rate of exit to permanency (between 1.38 and 1.59 times faster). They also find that this program is cost effective.
Evaluation of the QIC-ChildRep Best Practices Model Training for Attorneys Representing Children in the Child Welfare System
This program evaluation of the QIC-ChildRep training for attorneys representing children in child welfare cases finds that children assigned to attorneys who underwent the intervention’s training were more likely to experience permanency within 6 months when compared to attorneys who did not participate in the intervention. Attorneys who participated in the intervention met with their child client more frequently, spend more time on cases, contacted more parties, spent more time developing the theory of the case, and had more contact with foster parents and substitute caregivers.
In many child dependency cases in Nebraska, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to advocate for the child. The researchers evaluated five counties in Nebraska. They find that there is a lack of clarity for guardian ad litems, guardians were satisfied with their caseloads, a majority believed their compensation was inadequate, and most of the guardians believed they received insufficient training.
This research article uses the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey to examine levels of sexual abuse, physical violence, stalking, and verbal abuse of American Indian and Alaskan Native women and men by their intimate partners.
The Legal Assistance for Victims Program (LAV) “has been a success” by promoting the delivery of high-quality and comprehensive services among legal aid and domestic violence victim service programs. The federal evaluation finds that despite LAV, there is a “chronic unmet need for attorneys.”
Economic Self-Sufficiency among Women Who Experienced Intimate Partner Violence and Received Civil Legal Services
This study, funded by a DOJ award, found that for women who were experiencing intimate partner violence (also called domestic violence) and who received civil legal services for assistance in obtaining a civil protective order or assisting with a family law problem, saw increases in monthly income increase and number of assistance resources decrease. The study finds that “civil legal services are a critical component of a community coordinated response to IPV” (abstract).