National Adoption Month Resources for Legal Professionals

Legal professionals often collaborate with the child welfare system and are integral to achieving permanency for teens. To provide quality representation and ensure the case plan meets the young person’s needs, legal professionals must engage youth. The resources below provide strategies for collaborating with child welfare, promoting youth engagement, and supporting adoption for teens.

Engaging Youth:

Brain Frames: How Attorneys Can Engage Youth in Case Planning and Court Hearings (PDF – 79 KB)
American Bar Association (2019)
Provides tips to help legal professionals successfully engage youth in court hearings.

Engaging and Involving Youth: Court Processes
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Lists resources to support the meaningful involvement of youth in their court hearings.

Meaningful Youth Engagement in a Virtual Legal World [Webinar]
National Association of Counsel for Children (2020)
Outlines concrete tips and best practices for engaging youth in virtual interactions and hearings. Register for free to access the webinar.

Tips from Individuals with Lived Experience:

How a Few Words From My Attorney Made a Difference (PDF – 206 KB)
Ramirez (2020)
The Guardian, 42(2)
Describes how attorneys should take the time to listen to the young people and understand what their goals and dreams are.

How Lawyers and Youth in Care Can Work Together Well (PDF – 110 KB)
Jarvis (2019)
The Guardian, 41(2)
Describes how attorneys should explain to youth what rights they have and ways in which they can help them in their case.

If You Really Have No One, You Should Definitely Have an Attorney” (PDF – 148 KB)
Hamilton (2020)
The Guardian, 42(1)
Describes how attorneys can be someone youth can count on to listen, answer questions, and help achieve their goals.

I Wish My Lawyer Knew… (PDF – 327 KB)
Avory (2019)
The Guardian, 41(3)
Details how lawyers can invest in the leadership of young people and help them learn how to advocate for themselves.

This Should Never Have Happened (PDF – 607 KB)
Jolliet (2019)
The Guardian, 41(5)
Provides a series of recommendations about how lawyers can positively impact a youth’s life.

Collaborating with Child Welfare:

Missouri’s Multidisciplinary Approach to Child Welfare Systems Transformation
Green (2018)
Children’s Bureau Express, 19(10)
Highlights three initiatives of the Missouri Children’s Division’s to support child welfare and court collaboration.

Working With the Courts for Permanency
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Shares resources to help child welfare agencies and courts collaborate to achieve permanency for children.

Supporting Permanency for Older Youth:

Four Steps Judges and Court Professionals Can Take to Promote Permanency for Youth in Foster Care (PDF – 328 KB)
Voice for Adoption & Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Provides practical strategies that court professionals can implement to support permanency for older youth.

Supporting Legal and Relational Permanency for Youth in Care [Video]
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (2020)
Discusses challenges and specific strategies to achieving legal permanency for teens.

Unadoptable Is Unacceptable: Removing Legal Barriers to Permanency for Older Youth: A Guide for Legal Partners in the Child Welfare System
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (2019)
Explores common barriers and legal challenges to permanency for older youth and offers solutions and strategies that legal professionals can employ.

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