Giving Families a Chance: Necessary Reforms for the Adequate Representation of Connecticut’s Children and Families in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases

Back • Publication Date: April 9th, 2007

Authors: William Bowen, Joshua Hudner & Blair Warner

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The current model of legal representation for Connecticut children and parents in abuse and neglect proceedings – independent contract attorneys – does not provide constitutionally-adequate representation. Evidence from other states indicates that providing legal representation through a public agency or nonprofit legal services provider leads to higher quality services. Connecticut currently provides a flat fee of $500 for the first thirty hours of work on a case (recently increased from $350). Implementing an hourly billing system and increasing compensation is critical to providing adequate representation for children and families. Improving training and qualification requirements and better monitoring of the quality of representation are also essential for improving attorney performance.