Counsel for Kids Update! Due Process for Montana’s Children
On May 19, Montana Governor Gianforte signed Senate Bill 148 guaranteeing the right to counsel for children in abuse and neglect court proceedings. This follows the signing into law of House Bill 555 on April 20 that requires the director of the Office of the State Public Defender to establish training and practice standards for children’s lawyers. HB 555 also requires the child protection agency to leverage and maximize Title IV-E funds for children’s legal representation. Together these bills, effective October 1, construct the framework for high-quality legal service delivery.
NACC Asks Congress to Support Legislation for Children and Families
NACC urged Congress to prioritize kids in budget decisions, support local mentoring programs for youth, and pass 2023 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act appropriations. NACC supports the reintroduction of the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which it backed in the last Congress. NACC also signed on to a letter supporting responsible budget and debt policies.
NACC joined partners to oppose legislation that would effectively end the right to asylum at the southern border.
The Alaska Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of State of Alaska v. Z.C. on May 9. In 2022, NACC joined an amicus brief in this case opposing the agency practice of claiming children’s social security benefits.