New Resources and Important Information

 
LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT - COURT INFORMATION/NOTICES - Click Here
 
 
LEGAL AND COURT GUIDANCE FROM ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER JERRY MILNER
 
The Children’s Bureau (CB) is aware of questions and concerns regarding a number of child welfare issues in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, including whether CB can waive statutorily required judicial proceedings. As discussed and delineated below, CB cannot waive these statutory requirements but expects that courts and states will work together to determine how best to balance child-safety related statutory requirements against public-health mandates. But as delineated below, as situations require, courts can and should use flexible means of convening required hearings.
 
The Children's Bureau has released a memorandum for child welfare professionals with guidance on COVID-19 response and the courts. Please review and follow the guidance with your court cases. Click here.
 
 
CHILD WELFARE COURTS DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS: ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND ADVOCACY...
 
A joint statement on Child Welfare Courts from Child Welfare Partners:
In this time of profound uncertainty, child welfare systems face unprecedented challenges to ensuring safety, wellbeing, and permanency for young people. As the public health crisis persists, it is incumbent upon courts and legal professionals to critically assess and safeguard the needs and rights of every young person and family member experiencing dependency court involvement. Judicial officers, attorneys for children, parents, agencies, and tribes, CIPs, CASAs, and court administrators should resist reactive, sweeping policies and insist upon thoughtful consideration of each child’s and each family’s individual circumstances, promoting decisions based on current information, informed by medical expertise, and anchored in due process values. Specifically: Click to read the full statement. Very important resources and contacts shared within the document. 
  
 
QUALIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS FOR ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING CHILDREN IN NEED OF CARE

Since July, 2005 the Louisiana Supreme Court Division of Children and Families has been collecting and maintaining information received from attorneys pursuant to this Rule.  This list is a compilation based on information submitted to the Supreme Court and includes those attorneys qualified for appointment as counsel for children in child abuse and neglect cases as of the day indicated in the update notice. It is the continuing responsibility of each attorney to provide documentation of his/her qualifications to the Division of Children and Families.  Any attorney who has not submitted, prior to January 31 each year, evidence of attendance of at least six hours of approved continuing legal education in the past calendar year will no longer be considered as qualified under this Rule. Questions or comments about the list of qualified counsel for children in child abuse and neglect cases?  Please e-mail Curtis Nelson, Director, Division of Children and Families, Louisiana Supreme Court: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuesday, 07 April 2020 17:33

The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements have required courts to be flexible and creative in continuing to carry out essential functions. The Children’s Bureau has encouraged, and many courts have adopted, the use of technology to conduct child welfare hearings remotely when they cannot take place in-person. Although there are some challenges to holding a hearing via technology, these hearings are essential to address important issues affecting children and families, to litigate and allow the court to make key decisions impacting safety, permanency and wellbeing, and to ensure due process and access to justice for families. The following guide distills some best practices and other recommendations for remote or “virtual” hearings. Please note that courts across the country are using several programs and platforms for video conferencing. This guide provides general guidance without regard to the specific platform being used.

Tuesday, 07 April 2020 17:28

In a world where “social distancing” has become a necessary practice and the primary preventative measure for reducing the spread of coronavirus, we must remember that children in foster care and their families have already been “distanced” from each other.

Protecting family integrity may seem like an expendable effort – something to be put aside until the world changes. The fact is, every day that goes by with restrictions on family time, reduced availability of treatment or other services for parents and delays in reunification efforts is a threat to family integrity.

When children are removed from their parents, even when necessary for their safety, and artificial visiting arrangements are imposed that prevent parents from being parents and children from being children, they become distanced and that can be harmful to parents and children alike. The effects of such distancing shows up in trauma responses, in hopelessness, in destructive behaviors, in increasing needs for clinical interventions, and in repeated cycles of difficulty within families.

Read the full article by Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the U.S. Children's Bureau and David Kelly, Special Assistant to the Associate Commissioner at the U.S. Children's Bureau. April 6, 2020. Article in Chronicle of Social Change.

Friday, 03 April 2020 13:28

The daily changes and constantly updated information on the COVID-19 crisis can be overwhelming. However panic cannot and should not drive our work off course. Children, foster parents and birth parents deal with incredibly challenging personal crises every day. They are the pros and know how to deal with challenges one day at a time. We need this knowledge more than ever. Quality Parenting Initiative sites have to hold onto our values so that all of our decisions continue to support excellent parenting everyday.

Over the next several weeks we will be sharing "Covid-19: The New Normal", a set of QPI based resources created to support parents, birth resource foster and kin, youth and staff, connected to the child welfare system. These will include a weekly webcast and daily online resources distributed to our QPI community via email and social media. This series is particularly focused on meeting the needs of families, who are often hard to reach. We don't want to add to your workload, but we would appreciate your sharing information about the series with families, birth foster and kin in whatever way you can. We will also be grateful for any ideas you have about how to reach this audience. Below is a schedule of webinar topics as part of our QPI-based resource series, COVID-19: The New Normal. As the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve, please know there is a possibility that the following topics may be subject to change.

  • Tuesday, March 31st: The Power of Connection: How Resource Families Can Support Adolescents Through COVID-19 Crisis-Register here<https://ylcqpi.zoom.us/meeting/register/u50rf-ivqDkvABi56HwYxW43qB42gwtSow>
  • April 7th and 9th (a two-part series!): Child development specialist on using media effectively with children and virtual visitation. Click here for April 7th and then Click here for April 9th. This is a two part series!
  • Week of April 12th: Keeping teens connected to friends and family using tech.
  • Week of April 19th: Ensuring youth who receive special education obtain services and maintain educational progress.
  • Week of April 26th: Keeping older youth on track for college including SAT, college applications, coursework issues.
  • Week of May 3rd: Coordinating with Qualified Legal Services Provider (QSLP) on employment issues and unemployment insurance.
  • Week of May 10th: Supporting young children and their families.
  • Week of May 17th: Maintaining relationships between children and families over distance
Friday, 03 April 2020 11:11

Please join us for a free webinar on Thursday, April 9th at 11:00AM EST: COVID-19 and Child Welfare Cases highlighting the Children’s Bureau’s March 27th guidance on how to address emerging legal issues in child welfare cases. Hosted by the ABA Center on Children and the LawABA Commission on Youth at Risk, and ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social JusticeThe webinar will help attorneys and judges apply the Children’s Bureau’s guidance in case-by-case decision-making to address legal issues around family time, access to services in the case plan, remote court hearings, reasonable efforts, TPR timelines, family reunification and other important aspects of a child welfare case affected by the pandemic.

  • Dr. Jerry Milner - Associate Commissioner, Children’s Bureau, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
  • David Kelly - Special Advisor, Children’s Bureau, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
  • Judge Ernestine Gray - Orleans Parish, and Chair of the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk
  • Kathleen Creamer - Managing Attorney, Family Advocacy Unit, Philadelphia Community Legal Services
  • Moderated by: Prudence Beidler Carr - Director of the ABA Center on Children and the Law

Please submit questions for the presenters to: Mimi Laver at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday, April 6th at noon.  Register for the webinar here!

Thursday, 25 April 2019 14:06

Joint Blog Discusses OJJDP and Children’s Bureau Partnership To Prevent Child Abuse

In a new joint blog, OJJDP Administrator Caren Harp and Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner discuss how both agencies are partnering to promote the safety and well-being of children and families in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month and throughout the year. The blog highlights the efforts of OJJDP and the Children’s Bureau within the Department of Health and Human Services to promote community partnerships and support efforts to address and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Friday, 18 January 2019 14:13

Benchcards for Judicial Safety Decision Making

These benchcards were published as an accompanying tool to the book Child Safety: A Guide for Judges and Attorneys. They are also referred to during the Safety Decision Making course presented by the Pelican Center for Children and Families - Court Improvement Program training.  The book can be accessed online. Click hereAuthors: Theresa Roe Lund MSSW and Jennifer L. Renne  Date: 2009

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 13:00

The 2019 catalog of training is now available and will provide you with a listing of all courses that are currently scheduled for the year. These courses are part of the Louisiana Court Improvement Program. We encourage all legal practitioners to mark your calendar for courses in your area. The cost to attend is either free or $25 per course. If you are attending an all-day course, lunch is also included. Please download and share this information.

Tuesday, 06 November 2018 20:25

by Jerry Milner and David Kelly  -  November 6, 2006

Far too often the wrong examples drive child welfare policy and practice in the United States.

We see it time and time again in jurisdictions where there is a child fatality; a formulaic response.  Negative stories run, resignations are sought, blue ribbon commissions or task forces assembled, recommendations made.

Perhaps a new policy is created or law passed to hold folks more accountable—often based on the facts of the most recently publicized tragedy as opposed to data and what we know children and families need.  Commonly, there are corresponding spikes in the number of kids removed from their homes, everyone becomes scared and that fear is reflected in social work and legal decision making.

Attention then turns to recruiting more foster homes to place the increasing numbers of kids coming into foster care and we create a demand for which supply will never be adequate. Dockets and caseloads swell, workforce stress and turnover become endemic, and children and parents often do not receive services or supports to meet their needs. Such reactions bring tragic consequences and affect tens of thousands of lives annually—the unnecessary separation of children from their parents and ensuing trauma. The child welfare system often becomes stuck in this cycle, and it comes at enormous human and financial cost. Yet, we continue to respond in the same damaging and costly way, over and over again.

As a field we know the trauma children experience when separated from their parents is considered a powerful adverse childhood experience that can lead to long-term health, relational, and self-sufficiency challenges. It is also highly traumatic for parents and can trigger relapse or decompensation for those that may be in recovery or struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. In other words, fear of making a wrong decision can lead to over removal. Over removal is a near guarantee of harm to a much larger population and perpetuates intergenerational cycles of disruption and maltreatment. This is a quieter, more far-reaching tragedy.

Read the full article

 
Child Law Practice (CLP) Today, published by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, is a free online resource for child law practitioners. Practical articles tied to the ABA Center on Children and the Law's primary areas of work, and the work of our partners in the field, will be shared as they are published and may be accessed at www.childlawpractice.org. Past articles from the parent publication, Child Law Practice, are also freely accessible.
Wednesday, 31 October 2018 15:03

We want to share this quick 5-minute overview with you about the Child Safety: A Guide for Judges and Attorneys that was co-authored by Jennifer Renne and Theresa Roe-Lund. We use this textbook and the bench cards in our Safety Decision Making courses that we host in Louisiana. We offer a one-hour webinar and a 6 hour class periodically. Click for the video link.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018 11:14

The All Children - All Families Webinar Series kicks off tomorrow, August 1st at 3:00 PM ET with our introductory 90-minute offering on LGBTQ competency for child welfare professionals. This webinar, along with our two other core offerings on serving LGBTQ parents and LGBTQ youth, will be presented live monthly from August to March and available on demand. All three core webinars provide 1.5 CE credits from NASW at a cost of $40/webinar. Click here to register and learn more about purchasing CEs. Note: Employees at ACAF participating agencies are eligible for a 50% discount on CEs. If your agency participates in ACAF, ask your team’s ACAF leads for the discount code to submit at time of purchase. Not sure if your agency is eligible? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or request to participate today.

Looking for in-person staff training? ACAF’s 3-part training series is also eligible for NASW CE credit -- up to 18 hours! Learn more at hrc.im/acaf-training. Sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign.

Monday, 21 May 2018 12:00

There is a newly updated APP available for Apple and Android devices that was developed by the Louisiana Children's Justice Act Taskforce. This APP has national, state and parish level resources for those who work in the field of child welfare. It also has the state's Safe Haven locations listed by parish. Please share the APP flyer so that more people begin using the APP. 

Monday, 14 May 2018 11:28

The growing opioid crisis has been declared a public health emergency. It's sparked a parallel crisis you rarely hear about: the impact on children neglected by addicted parents. More than one million American children now live with grandparents, primarily because of their parent's addiction to opioids and other drugs: heroin, crack, meth and alcohol. Grandparents are putting off retirement and plowing through savings to rescue their grandchildren from dangerous situations.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/opioid-epidemic-leaving-grandparents-to-raise-grandchildren/

CBS Sixty Minutes Report

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 13:51

CliffsNotes on Family First Act, Part Three: Adoption, Foster Home Recruitment, Reunification and More (Commentary)

Chronicle of Social Change - February 15, 2018

The foster care prevention services and the limits on congregate care are the central reasons for this legislation. But there are several significant provisions that are included in the bill that became law.

Also: CliffsNotes on Family First Act, Part One: Services to Prevent Foster Care: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/finance-reform/cliffsnotes-family-first-anatomy-massive-child-welfare-entitlement-reform

Also: CliffsNotes on Family First Act, Part Two: Limiting Support for Congregate Foster Care: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/finance-reform/cliffsnotes-family-first-act-part-one-services-prevent-foster-care/29896

https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/finance-reform/cliffsnotes-family-first-act-part-three-adoption-foster-home-recruitment-reunification/29897

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 11:48

State supreme courts are increasingly being asked to provide guidance about requests for findings related to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).[1] An immigrant youth can only seek SIJS, a form of humanitarian immigration relief, from the federal government after securing a state court order that includes specific findings. As the number of immigrant children and youth seeking SIJS has increased, more state trial and appellate courts are asked to consider petitions for findings in specific cases and, more broadly, the role of a state court in the SIJS process.

Several appellate decisions focus on whether the trial court can enter any SIJS findings. Others address more discrete areas, such as what a trial court with jurisdiction over youth under 18 should do when the young person reaches the age of majority in the state. In a recent case, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (the court of last resort in Washington, D.C.) addressed the finding of reunification of an immigrant youth with a parent not being viable due to abandonment. Read the rest of the article, click here.  Source: ABA Child Law Practice Today.  January 24, 2018 by Cristina Cooper

 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017 16:53

In early 2017, the American Bar Association officially passed a policy adopting the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education (LCFCE) Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Children in Foster Care (http://fostercareandeducation.org/AreasofFocus/BlueprintforChange.aspx) and the Legal Center for Youth Justice and Education (LCYJE) Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System (https://www.jjeducationblueprint.org/). Both Blueprints were produced under the leadership of the ABA Center on Children and the Law through partnerships with the Education Law Center, Juvenile Law Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The ABA's endorsement of the two Blueprints means the nation's largest legal association stands behind the approaches contained in each Blueprint and supports their widespread adoption. The ABA calls on judges, lawyers, and other legal practitioners to advocate for improved policies and practices that support education success for court-involved youth. The ABA also calls on federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local legislatures, government agencies, and courts to adopt laws, regulations, policies, and court rules to implement the Blueprints. There are two documents. The first (PDF) is the ABA policy language. The second provides more information about the implications this ABA policy can have in the field broadly and for your individual jurisdictions.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 12:29

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges recently passed resolutions and policy statements on how to improve the lives of youth and families involved with juvenile or family courts. The resolutions address the needs of homeless youth and families, support a developmental approach to juvenile probation, and recognize the need for independent oversight of youth confinement facilities. The Council also released two bench cards: one with guidance on working with youth regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and one on applying principles of adolescent development in delinquency proceedings. In addition, the Council released a guide of principles and practices addressing custody and visitation.

Thursday, 07 September 2017 12:01

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and Office for Civil Rights have compiled documents that provide guidance to ensure that child welfare agencies and state court systems are aware of their responsibilities to protect the civil rights of children and families in the child welfare system. The attached documents will address policy for Title VI, Disabilities, and Disproportionality issues.