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  • April 05, 2018

    Share Information with the Children & the Law Section's Blog and Elist

    Katie Holtz talks about a great way for section members to maximize their member benefits - by using the Children & the Law Section elist.

    Kathryn A. Holtz

    The State Bar of Wisconsin Children and the Law Section wants to ensure that our members maximize their member benefits. One area that Board members hope will continue to grow is our elist and improve its usefulness for all members. We hope that this forum can be a place for robust discussion and idea sharing. With that desire in mind, we wanted to take this month’s blog post to share a few reminders.

    Moving from Newsletter to Blog

    For many years, the Children & the Law Section has had a newsletter. We always aimed to have it disseminated to members quarterly. However, because of ever-changing law and busy schedules, that goal sometimes fell short.

    Katie Holtz , U.W. 2008, is an assistant state public defender with the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, Milwaukee, where she represents children in delinquency and CHIPS proceedings, and parents in termination of parental rights cases.

    We are now moving to a blog format. This will allow us to disseminate content to our members quickly and as it becomes relevant. Archives of the old newsletters and new blog posts can be easily found by logging on to your State Bar account and going to the Children & the Law Section page. Much of the information is available even if you are not a section member (so share it with nonmember friends and encourage them to join)!

    How to Sign Up

    If you are a member of the section, but not receiving emails from us, it is easy to sign up to receive emails:

    If you scroll to the bottom of the page under the ELIST heading, you can sign up for elists and the Children and the Law Section should be listed in this section. You can click on the “Mail” checkbox by the Children and the Law to receive emails as they are submitted or click on “Digest” to receive one daily compiled digest of emails.

    Once you are signed up for the elist, you can go to the same page, click on the section name, and access all of the archived emails that have been sent through the elist.

    Elist Guidelines and Tips

    When posting questions, insights, comments, and more, it is important to remember that the Children and the Law Section, and thus its elist, has members who serve many different roles.

    There are:

    • prosecutors and corporation counsel working on delinquency, CHIPS, and TPR cases;
    • Guardians ad Litem who represent children’s best interests in child welfare proceedings, injunctions, family law, and other matters;
    • public defenders who represent parents and children in CHIPS, delinquency, and TPR cases;
    • judges who oversee full or partial children’s court calendars; and
    • more attorneys who may have an interest in children and the law without specific application to their practice.

    The reason this is important is that when posting questions or attempting to discuss a case on the elist, members should be cognizant that their opposing counsel or judge could also be a member of the list. Members should consider not using the Children and the Law elist for posting case- or role-specific questions, but instead post those inquires to various other elists – like those specifically for district attorneys, corporation counsel, public defenders, private defense attorneys (Defendernet or WACDL’s list). There are also national elists to get a more geographically diverse perspective that attorneys should seek out and consider tapping into for insight and assistance.

    The best use of the Children and the Law elist is for sharing information that would be helpful, applicable, and informative to most members of the section. For example:

    • sharing relevant CLE information in your local area;
    • sharing networking opportunities;
    • providing relevant information from other sections with shared interests, or
    • sharing the status of pending legislation that could affect us all.

    By keeping the audience in mind, we can respect our individual roles within a case, but also share information to improve the level of practice for all of the children served by section members.

    Another useful tip for posting to the elist is to clearly identify yourself, your role, and the area of Wisconsin you are writing from. While Chapters 48, 938, 51, 54, and 767 of the Wisconsin statutes are universally used across the state, we all know that individual counties and courtrooms have their own quirks and requirements. How a statute is implemented in La Crosse County may be very different from how it is applied in Door County.

    Identifying your role and where you are writing from can help other members tailor their answers to you and may serve to connect you with resources or contacts in your area to assist you offline.

    Special CLE Event: Tackling the Stigma - Children, Families and Mental Health

    For more information on working with children’s cases involving mental health issues, attend the Children and the Law Section’s special CLE Event, Learning Law at Lambeau: Tackling the Stigma: Children, Families and Mental Health, on April 26, 2018, in Green Bay.

    Programming runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a reception to follow. Topics include:

    • Recognizing and Overriding Our Unconscious Biases
    • Individualized Education Plans
    • Juvenile Mental Health Commitments under Chapter 51: A Perspective from Petitioners and Defense Attorneys
    • Ethics in Representing a Cognitively-disabled Parent or Child

    To register and for more information, visit’s Marketplace.

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    Contact Customer Service, (800) 728-7788

    Children & the Law Blog is published by the Children & the Law Section and the State Bar of Wisconsin; blog posts are written by section members. To contribute to this blog, contact Christie Christie and review Author Submission Guidelines. Learn more about the Children & the Law Section or become a member.

    Disclaimer: Views presented in blog posts are those of the blog post authors, not necessarily those of the Section or the State Bar of Wisconsin. Due to the rapidly changing nature of law and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the State Bar of Wisconsin makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or completeness of this content.

    © 2024 State Bar of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158.

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