Trump Administration Rule Change Could Unleash Hundreds of Millions in Federal Funds to Defend Rights of Parents, Children in Child Protection Cases

Most state and local courts have some guarantees of legal support available for kids and parents, even though the Supreme Court has ruled it is not constitutionally required. But child representation is not always provided by a lawyer.

Feature (NATIONAL)

John Kelly
Chronicle of Social Change (CA)
February 5, 2019

Tags: Children & Juvenile, Civil Right to Counsel, Funding: Federal

Organizations mentioned/involved: Children’s Advocacy Institute (San Diego), Children’s Law Center of California, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), Michigan Law’s Child Advocacy Law Clinic


The push to bring federal resources to bear on legal counsel reaped a massive victory in December when a quietly changed policy opened up a federal entitlement to pay for parent and child representation. Before the change, local child welfare agencies could only pay for their own legal fees. Now, those agencies can tap into funds from Title IV-E of the Social Security Act – the federal entitlement for family, foster care and adoption services – to pay for as much as half the cost of counsel for parents and children.