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April 2024 Policy Updates

Tuesday April 2, 2024

Three State Legislatures Consider Client Directed Model of Representation

Iowa HF 2580 requires the appointment of legal counsel for children ten and older and a GAL attorney for children under ten. The bill saw two proposed amendments in March. The first would require the appointment of counsel and a GAL to youth under ten. The second would permit the same person to serve as GAL and counsel for a child under ten unless they could not adequately provide representation for both roles.

Kansas HB 2381 would require the district court to appoint an attorney as the representative for a child in Child in Need of Care proceedings and allow for the optional appointment of a GAL. The attorney is required to take direction from the child as the child develops capacity to direct, and determine what the child would decide if they are not capable of making an adequately considered decision. The bill stalled after Judiciary committee considered it on March 7.

Missouri SB 801 would require the court to appoint client-directed legal counsel for children involved in proceedings involving abuse or neglect. Counsel would represent the child at all stages of the proceeding, including appeal. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to pass on the bill on February 28. The Senate will now review the bill to determine if it can be declared perfected.

NACC Advocates at the Federal Level

NACC signed on to extend the deadline for the American Rescue Plan’s funds for Homeless Children and Youth and endorsed two bills to support educational access for foster youth.

Amicus Update

NACC joined an amicus brief regarding the rights for non-respondent parents in New York child welfare cases.

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