The Parent Defender Model Heads West

In September 2018, Patten and Aleguire launched East Bay Family Defenders with a team of 10 attorneys, a social worker and a peer advocate. It is the dream of two lawyers who came from the East Coast, trained to surround vulnerable parents with a needed support system.

News Story (California)

Ellie Dehghan
Chronicle of Social Change (CA)
May 13, 2019

Tags: Child Welfare

Organizations mentioned/involved: East Bay Family Defenders


East Bay Family Defenders fights against that blame, advocating for a clearer picture of what the family has endured and necessary services they have gone without.

“We know from research that vigorous advocacy in the first three months of a case has the highest impact on avoiding or shortening the need for foster care placement,” explained Patten. But it is not just what they do in the courtroom that is different.

The cause of more and better legal support for parents scored a major victoryat the end of 2018. Just before Christmas, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that for the first time, states could use federal child welfare entitlement dollars to help pay legal fees associated with parents and children in dependency court cases.