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2023 NACC Year in Review

Monday January 8, 2024

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In 2023, the National Association of Counsel for Children expanded the right to counsel for kids in three more states, published landmark resources for the field, delivered new programs, trained thousands of attorneys, and deepened its commitment to its vision, mission, and goals in the final year of the 2019–2023 Strategic Plan. Thank you for your partnership and support as we work toward a future where every child, parent, and family is well-supported in their community and has equitable access to justice through culturally responsive, client-centered legal representation. Together we promote excellence, build community, and advance justice in child welfare law. Read more about NACC’s work in our 2023 Impact Report.
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Trained 5000 Lawyers, Judges, and Advocates, and held 12 WebinarsThis year, NACC trained thousands of attorneys, presented in 16 states and at two national conferences, developed and delivered custom training in four states. From monthly webinars to inaugural training series, NACC is the go to source for accurate, useful guidance on child welfare law.NACC also designed and presented two new training programs: The Race Equity Training Series, to advance race equity in child welfare law, and the High-Quality Legal Representation for Infants and Toddlers Training Series, to help attorneys better represent very young children. NACC continues to create and deliver groundbreaking training to help attorneys, judges, and advocates receive the vital information and skills they need to pursue justice alongside children and families.
Published Children’s Law Office Guidebook – 2nd Edition!NACC published the latest edition of the Children’s Law Office Guidebook: Best Practice Guidelines for Organizational Legal Representation of Children in Neglect, Abuse, and Dependency Cases. Edited by NACC Training Director Kristen Pisani-Jacques, JD, CWLS, the Guidebook includes contributions from 55 law office leaders and senior staff and demonstrates the growth and development of the field. This is an essential new resource for law office leaders!
Provided Cornerstone Publications including Red Book 4NACC delivered hundreds of copies of the new edition of Child Welfare Law and Practice (The Red Book), NACC Recommendations for Legal Representation of Children and Youth, the NACC On Campus guide, and Children’s Justice, a book dedicated to improving the system. These foundational texts provide standards, guidance, and go-to reference for the practice of child welfare law and the pursuit of justice for children and families. NACC resources cover the depth, breadth, and complexity of our field and are essential tools for advocates.Get your copy of Red Book 4 or view all of NACC’s publications now! They are the perfect holiday gift for yourself or the child welfare law professional in your life!
Expanded Child Welfare Law Specialist CertificationNACC is the only organization accredited by the American Bar Association to accredit attorneys as Child Welfare Law Specialists. NACC certified 27 new Child Welfare Law Specialists in 2023, recognizing their skill and expertise in the field. Congrats to all new CWLS!NACC also expanded the certification program to Indiana this year, bringing the total number of jurisdictions from which attorneys can apply for certification to 46 states and the District of Columbia.NACC’s certification program recognizes the specialized skills, training, and experience required to provide high-quality legal representation for children, families, and agencies. Learn more about becoming a certified Child Welfare Law Specialist, and stay tuned for upcoming training courses in spring and fall 2024 to prepare for the CWLS exam.
Advanced Justice for Children and FamiliesNACC developed a new policy framework to guide its advocacy. With an emphasis on high-quality legal representation, youth voice, and race equity, among other key topics, the framework lays the path for NACC’s work in 2024 and beyond.Counsel for Kids is a top policy priority and the campaign continued to gain momentum in 2023. NACC led efforts to expand the right to counsel for Kids in Montana, Connecticut, and Georgia! Now, 37 states guarantee legal representation to young people experiencing the child welfare system, but our work continues until counsel for kids is reality nationwide. In 2023, NACC testified at nine legislative committee hearings and created new tools and resources, including: Seen, Heard, and Represented: A Policymaker’s Guide to Counsel for Kids and the Counsel for Kids Promote Race Equity video.NACC also joined or filed amicus briefs focused on supporting LGBTQIA+ rights, and separately, kinship ties and the preservation of the Indian Child Welfare Act in the case of Haaland v. Brackeen. NACC celebrates this gold standard law, and will continue to work to protect the rights of children, families, and tribes.
Increased Organizational Members to 70 and Added Law School ChaptersNACC added 11 new organizational members this year, bringing the total number of organizational members to 70. NACC also now has student chapters at four law schools and universities across the country. Learn about how your law office, agency, or organization can get the benefits of NACC membership in 2024.NACC invites individuals or organizations with an interest in child welfare law to become members! And Student Memberships are free! Learn more about membership and make this the year you join or upgrade your membership. Save on NACC’s conference and events, get discounts on products, receive access to member webinars, demonstrate your support for justice for children and families, and more!
Convened 1000 Practitioners and AdvocatesNACC held its 46th National Child Welfare Law Conference, From Learning to Action: Shared Accountability for Disrupting Harm and Promoting Healing, in Minneapolis in August and virtually in September. This year’s conference theme recognized that all system actors have a shared responsibility to promote family integrity, center the voices and experiences of individuals with lived expertise, engage in authentic partnerships, and actively work towards equity and justice. Thank you to all of the attendees, presenters, sponsors, and exhibitors who joined us. We are so glad you are part of the NACC community!Save the date for 2024! The 47th National Child Welfare Law Conference will be August 12-14, 2024 in Salt Lake City, and online September 11-13. You can already book your room.Call for abstracts! If you would like to present at the 2024 conference, NACC is accepting abstracts until January 31.
Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2023 Promoting Excellence Awards!At the 46th National Child Welfare Law Conference, NACC recongized champions who raise the bar and set the standard for excellence in child welfare legal advocacy. Join us in congratulating these leaders:Outstanding Legal Advocate: Shereen WhiteOutstanding New Lawyer: Kaveh LandsverkOutstanding Law Student: Rose WehrmanDistinguished Achievement: Frank CervoneOutstanding Children’s Law Office/Agency: Colorado Office of the Child RepresentativeOutstanding Pro Bono Partner: Robert Gutierrez, Of Counsel, and Ballard Spahr LLP
NACC Welcomes Third Cohort of the National Advisory CouncilThis year, NACC selected the third cohort of the National Advisory Council on Children’s Legal Representation. The council is comprised of young professionals, advocates, and leaders who have navigated the child welfare system and contribute their lived expertise to advancing NACC’s mission and core strategies. They help guide NACC’s board and staff as they work to advance justice in child welfare law.NACC also published a new tipsheet, So you Want to Add Peer Advocates to Your Legal Representation Model, to help guide other organizations who want to add a peer advocate program to their advocacy.
New Website Reaches more than 70,000 PeopleNACC released a completely new website in 2023 to improve the member experience, make information and resources easier to find, and better communicate the importance of high-quality legal representation for children, parents, and agencies. The new site features a new searchable resource library and race equitypolicy, and student hubs, an easy to navigate upcoming events calendar, cleaner organization, refreshed logo, and more! Join NACC to get access to member-only resources and discounts. Visit NACCchildlaw.org to see everything the new site has to offer.
Thank you for supporting NACC and helping us promote excellence, build community, and advance justice. Please consider contributing to NACC today. Whether you give a $25, $50, or $100 donation or more, or whether you become a Sapphire Member to support Counsel for Kids or a Platinum member for life, your engagement supports NACC’s strength and the impact we can have as a national community of advocates.We’re grateful you are part of our community and wish you the best in the new year!-Team NACC
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Learn more about NACC at NACCchildlaw.org and on social media: @NACCchildlaw
National Association of Counsel for Children | www.NACCchildlaw.orgTogether we are Promoting Excellence, Building Community, Advancing Justice

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