Children in Today’s Courtroom

By Franchesca L. Hamilton-Acker, Kellie J. Johnson and Josephine C. Vanderhorst

There are multiple layers to the child welfare system. One of these layers is peeled back
when there is a need to remove a child from his/her parents or caretakers because of allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment. This removal requires the involvement of the court system.
At the beginning of these proceedings, the parties involved are entitled to, and appointed, an attorney to represent them. In Louisiana, there is a child representation system that affords legal advocates to every child in these proceedings. The entities that make up the child representation system are listed
below. As managers of the entities that make up the child representation system, we want to provide a glimpse into our world and share some of our best practice tips regarding child representation.

The Child Representation System in Louisiana The child representation system in Child in Need of Care (CINC) cases in Louisiana is comprised of three entities — the Mental Health Advocacy Service, Child Advocacy Program (MHAS); Acadiana Legal Service Corp. (ALSC); and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS).

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Louisiana Bar Journal August / September 2022

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