September 2011 • Vol. 31 No. 8 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

LACBA Cosponsors ABA Resolution: Model Act Governing Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Proceedings

Resolution passes at ABA's 2011 Annual Meeting in August.

At its annual meeting held in August 2011 in Toronto, the American Bar Association adopted a resolution that focuses on the representation of children in abuse and neglect cases to ensure that states have a consistent model of ethical representation for children.

Cosponsored by LACBA, the Model Act Governing the Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Proceedings provides states with a legislative option to institutionalize ABA policy as they seek guidance in defining the proper role of lawyers assigned to represent abused or neglected children.

As the executive summary to the resolution states, the level to which children are entitled to and involved with their legal representation varies not only from state to state but also from case to case and often from hearing to hearing. The model act includes a mandate to require that a lawyer be appointed for each child involved in a petition and that an attorney-client relationship be formed that is fundamentally the same as any other attorney-client relationship and includes the duties of client direction, confidentiality, diligence, competence, loyalty, communication, and the duty to advise.

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