Child Welfare Law Specialist Certification

Are you ready to enhance your practice? Become a certified Child Welfare Law Specialist.

Child Welfare Law Specialist certification signifies an attorney’s specialized knowledge, skill, and verified expertise.

NACC only grants the CWLS credential to attorneys who successfully complete a rigorous application and examination process. This professional achievement is the highest testament to an attorney’s dedication and demonstrated excellence in child welfare law.

For purposes of CWLS certification, the American Bar Association defines child welfare law as “the practice of law representing children, parents or the government in all child protection proceedings including emergency, temporary custody, adjudication, disposition, foster care, permanency planning, termination, guardianship, and adoption. Child Welfare Law does not include representation in private custody and adoption disputes where the state is not a party.”

More CWLS Information

Child Welfare Law Specialists must submit annual reports and recertify every five years.

Community of Child Welfare Law Specialists

NACC is the only national organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys as Child Welfare Law Specialists. NACC has certified hundreds of attorneys as CWLS since the program began in 2006, collectively raising the standard of practice and the quality of representation in child welfare law.

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators endorse NACC’s certification program.



NACC Members$400
Application fee includes the Red Book and CWLS Exam!

Annual Renewal

All Renewals$120*
*Some states require an additional fee


All recertifications$300
Every five years, includes latest edition of the Red Book

The Children’s Bureau strongly encourages all attorneys and judges practicing child welfare law to obtain CWLS certification.

The Children’s Bureau, in its 2017 Informational Memorandum on the importance of high-quality legal representation for all parties in child welfare cases.

Maintain Your CWLS Credential

Child Welfare Law Specialists must submit an annual report to NACC regarding disclosure of conduct and an annual fee. NACC and the ABA also require Child Welfare Law Specialists to recertify (similar to the initial application process) every five years to help ensure the integrity of the credential.

Click through to learn all the details of these processes.

A National Approach

CWLS certification is currently available in all states except Maine, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

  Certification open

  Certification unavailable

  Certification not yet open

Enhance your practice.

Child Welfare Law Specialists must apply for recertification every five years.


New CWLS logos and assets coming soon for use on your website.