This session will discuss the rationales and realities of relationship boundary identification and implementation. The goal is to assist families and knowing how to work with families of origin in exploring and developing boundaries. CLICK HERE

New Hampshire Office of the Child Advocate . 

Through the lens of child welfare there are layers of safety nets employed to ensure parents are doing what they need to do to keep children safe. At school, recreation programs, churches, and all the community intersections a child encounters, people are watching after the children and, when needed, will step in to offer assistance or prompt protective action. When children are removed from their home and community for whatever reason, it falls to the State child welfare system to ensure safety and wellbeing at an even higher standard than parents would be expected to provide, because just leaving home sets a child back in the trajectory of development. Children placed in institutional settings are hidden from community view. Children who are institutionalized have the highest risk of being restrained,1 and yet the restraint and seclusion of children placed in institutional settings is a hidden practice. The incidence of restraint and seclusion in New Hampshire may therefore come as a surprise. CLICK HERE

What do Youth Need from their Attorneys?
In the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of life have dramatically changed — schools, court hearings, social events. What has not changed, however, are the critical and urgent needs of youth involved in the child welfare system. Many attorneys, and particularly those who represent young people, may be struggling with questions regarding their obligations in a moment of social distancing and widespread anxiety. Youth involved in the child welfare system need and deserve robust advocacy in this time period. The underlying needs of youth — the what — remains the same; it is the method of advocacy and service delivery — the how — that may need to be adjusted. National Association of Council for Children. 2020 CLICK HERE


Published in Attorneys

"Our typical National Child Abuse Prevention Month activities in April were not the same this year!" noted Southeastern Indiana Voices for Children executive director Tonya Ruble-Richter. The director reports, "We are doing everything we can to continue to be the voice and support our children's needs during this difficult time. This means thinking outside the box and looking for new ways to advocate for our kiddos. We are talking, texting, Zooming, Skyping and every other method of communication we can find! We are sending them letters, cards and even dropped off care packages to their front porches with items like coloring books, craft projects, puzzles, balls, jump ropes, bubbles and journals. Through it all, we continue to advocate for them in their cases through communication with their providers, the Indiana Department of Child Services and the courts. We are looking forward to the day when we can safely see our children face to face again. Herald-Tribune - April 29, 2020 CLICK HERE

ABA Journal - August 13, 2019
Resolution 115C, declaring that the Indian Child Welfare Act is constitutional, was easily approved by the ABA House of Delegates on Tuesday. The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed in 1978 to address the fact that states remove Indian children from their parents at high rates. Because those children were not often placed with members of their own tribes, that high rate was hurting tribes' ability to pass on their cultures to the next generation.

Also: Editorial: ICWA ruling a victory for tribes:


WNYC - August 14, 2019
The one-year filing period is known as a "look-back window," and allows victims to bring cases that used to be beyond the state's statute of limitations that legislators overhauled this year. Manhattan Assemblymember Yuh-line Niou is one of the people who voted for the new law, touting it at a news conference on Tuesday.

Also: Lawyers for victims of childhood abuse predict gut-wrenching stories in court (Includes video):
Also: Hundreds of child sex abuse victims to file civil suits (Includes video):
Also: Hundreds of lawsuits expected in New York after statute lifted on old child abuse cases:


"Earlier this summer the Children’s Bureau convened teams of up to ten individuals from every state, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to chart a new course for child welfare in the United States: strengthening families through primary prevention of child maltreatment and family disruption. The teams included representatives from the state child welfare agency, the legal and judicial community, and prevention partners. The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss and begin planning what child welfare system partners can do together to support primary prevention—to work upstream to address the root causes that make foster care necessary in the first place."

The full document is attached so that you can review the full article by Commissioner Jerry Milner and David Kelly.

Fall 2018 - National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Published in Judges


The relationship with a parent or primary caregiver is critical to a child’s sense of self, safety, and trust. However, many children experience the loss of a caregiver, either permanently due to death, or for varying amounts of time due to other circumstances. Children may develop posttraumatic responses when separated from their caregiver. The following provides information and suggestions for helping children who experience traumatic separation from a caregiver.

Access the full fact sheet

Children with Traumatic Separation: Information for Professionals

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network


Over 45 million children in the United States are affected by violence, crime, abuse, or psychological trauma each year, and many of them will become involved in the juvenile justice system. The majority of youth involved with the justice system (70-90%) have been exposed to trauma. The trauma experienced by justice-involved youth is often in multiple forms including, but not limited to, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, family and/or community violence, sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation, or loss of loved ones. Childhood exposure to violence and other traumatic events is a risk factor for arrest in adolescence, and youth with prior trauma exposure and related symptoms experience worse legal outcomes compared to youth without such a history.

Further, many youth experience additional stresses after entering the justice system apart from the inherent stress of the court interaction, including exposure to violence in detention/correctional facilities; infliction of harsh or invasive security practices such as shackling and other forms of physical restraint, punitive isolation, and strip searches; and separation from family, friends, and community. Collectively, these additional stressors are sometimes referred to as system-induced trauma. Some juvenile justice-involved youth may also be dually-involved with the child welfare system (i.e., dual system youth). It is important to keep in mind how involvement in both systems may affect youth, psychologically and legally.

This resource is intended to provide juvenile defense attorneys with an increased understanding of what trauma-informed legal advocacy entails, how trauma impacts child development, the attorney-client relationship, family and caregivers, and attorneys themselves. Additionally, this resource addresses screening and assessment, information sharing, transitions and placement decisions, and effective treatments for traumatic stress. Within each topic area, strategies for integrating this knowledge into legal advocacy (“Practice Tips”) are offered. Finally, this resource is intended to help you understand your role as the gatekeeper of trauma-based information for your client and support judiciously choosing how and when to use this information to best advocate for your client. Trauma-informed legal practice can strengthen legal advocacy, improve attorney-client relationships, and ultimately improve outcomes for youth. Additionally, awareness of secondary traumatic stress can improve prevention, identification, and self-care among legal professionals.

Access the full bulletin

Published in Attorneys

The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) became law in February 2018. FFPSA is a landmark child welfare law with the potential to establish significant changes in how the child welfare system is funded and operates across the country. Provisions especially relevant to the legal community are:

Click here for the ABA chart.

Published in Law and Best Practices
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