ERIC Number: EJ794220
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
A Comparison of Types of Attorney Representation for Children in California Juvenile Court Dependency Cases
Goodman, Gail S.; Edelstein, Robin S.; Mitchell, Emilie B.; Myers, John E. B.
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v32 n4 p497-501 Apr 2008
Objective: The present study concerns types of attorney representation for maltreated children involved in juvenile court actions in the state of California. The aims of the research were to document the different types of representation used in dependency cases in 2000 (e.g., public defender, District Attorney, private firms) and to evaluate these types of representation with respect to children's experiences in foster care. Methods: Every county in California was surveyed about the predominant type of legal representation used in their dependency court system. In addition, data on children's experiences in foster care were obtained from the Child Welfare System/Child Management System (CWS/CMS). Results: Findings indicate that, in the majority of counties in California, children were represented by the public defender's office or by a panel of court-appointed attorneys. Approximately equal numbers of counties employed county-affiliated (i.e., District Attorney, public defender, county counsel) and independent (i.e., private firm, panel of court-appointed attorneys) types of representation (47% and 52%, respectively). Further analyses suggested that children in counties employing independent types of representation tended to experience fewer foster-care placements than did children in counties employing county-affiliated types of representation. This relation remained significant when potentially confounding variables were statistically controlled. Conclusion: Results indicated that some types of representation, specifically, private firms and court-appointed attorneys, were associated with one better outcome for children.
Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Lawyers, Children, Juvenile Courts, Child Welfare, Counties, Foster Care, Experience
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California