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Quality legal representation of all parties is essential to a high-functioning dependency court process. Quality legal representation of children in particular is essential in obtaining good outcomes for children. An adversarial court process that depends on competing independent advocacy to provide information will not produce good outcomes for litigants who lack competent advocates. Dependency court decisions are as good as the information on which the decisions are based. In order to promote the welfare of children in dependency court, therefore, children must be provided with competent independent legal representation.


Reproduced with permission. Copyright 2005 National Association of Counsel for Children, all rights reserved. Originally published as Duquette, Donald N. and Marvin Ventrell. "Representing Children and Youth." In Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases, edited by Marvin Ventrell and Donald N. Duquette, 493-544. Denver, CO: Bradford Publishing, 2005.