Podcast: Bottom Up Podcast
Wisconsin’s Parent Support Program pairs former CHIPS parents as mentors for parents currently involved in the system. Clarice Ruehl discusses the program and the impact it makes for parents in the child welfare system.
'State v. A.G.' clarified the law on TPR plea colloquies in some ways but did not resolve the question of what the burden of proof is at TPR disposition – if there is any burden of proof beyond the child’s best interests, write Jenni Spies Karas andCourtney Roelandts.
The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Haaland v. Brackeen validated the Indian Child Welfare Act. Jennah Curtin discusses the case and decision on adoption practices involving Indian children.
The Tailored Dispositional Orders Project is being led by the Children’s Court Improvement Program (CCIP) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and aims to improve outcomes for CHIPS and Youth Justice cases. The project is now being expanded statewide.
Lawyers who serve as guardians ad litem often work with children with disabilities in the child welfare system. Jennifer Lehner analyzes strategies to improve outcomes for these children and their families and help GALs to better act in the child’s bestinterest.
Recent campaigns by politicians and lawmakers assert that gender-affirming care for transgender children constitutes child abuse. Law student Monika Allis discusses the scientific research and studies that say just the opposite.
Two bills proposed in the 2021-22 Wisconsin Assembly proposed eliminating the right to a jury trial for parents in an involuntary termination of parental rights (TPR) action. Matthew Young discusses the proposals – both of which failed – and the potentialloss of rights for the parent.
More and more termination of parental rights (TPR) cases are ending up in the appeal process due to concerns about the validity of the plea. Jenni Spies Karas addresses a practical guide to ensuring a no contest plea to grounds will withstand appellatereview.
With more CHIPS cases becoming adult guardianships, sometimes the transition process is rough. Clarice Ruehl talks about the issue and ideas for making the process smoother throughout Wisconsin.
Many benefits exist to placing children with relatives both inside and outside of the formal foster care system. Sienna Borchardt discusses the concept of “fictive kin” and the advantages of expanding the definition of relative to include fictive kin.
The Wisconsin youth justice system has some of the highest rates of disproportionality by race in the country. Alaina Fahley proposes first steps in countering bias affecting youth of color in the justice system.
Updates on the closure of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake in 2022 have youth justice advocates hopeful about promised reforms. Law student Renee Pasciak discusses the changes, as well as potential other options for helping our youth feel safe, supported, and on their way to becoming healthy, productive adults.
The availability and approval of COVID-19 vaccine administration for children presents new challenges for parents with joint legal custody who disagree about whether to vaccinate their children. Erin Idler explores the legal standard and role of a guardian ad litem in resolving such disputes.
The Family First Prevention Services Act refocuses child welfare goals from reaction to prevention, requiring qualified residential treatment programs to meet more stringent qualifications for funding. Grace Tressler explores the Act’s various impacts,especially how its implementation in Wisconsin transforms the current landscape of the treatment programs.
Mental health resources for children continue to be an important component when treating children with mental illness. Alyssa Paulus discusses these resources in Wisconsin.
The shift to online proceedings in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic created a more difficult court environment for those without access to reliable technology. Jessica Brown discusses the digital divide and offers recommendations for helping clients who have limited access to technology.
The Milwaukee County Accountability Program offers rehabilitative services for youth offenders. Just how effective is the program? Yolanda Gauna discusses the program and insight from a participant in the program.
A recently appeals court decision reinforces the requirement for batterers to complete certified treatment before being granted sole or joint custody of minor children in a divorce. Marco Bichanich discusses the case and the importance of certified batterers treatment providers in protecting children from the impact of domestic violence.
Under the Trump Administration, thousands of children were separated from their families at the U.S. border, and separations still occur – although much fewer – under the Biden Administration. Rozita Gerhard discusses the “zero tolerance” policy and its effect on immigrant children
LGBTQ youth have unique issues that require attorneys to educate the court, particularly in family law matters. U.W. law student Renee Pasciak explains the need for this education and how to advocate for this population.
Parents with personal experience in the child welfare system can play a valuable role in many ways, including providing feedback and peer support. Heather Miller discusses how a lived experience voice is being incorporated in child welfare in Wisconsin.
A current bill in the Wisconsin Legislature proposes a list of requirements and training that a potential guardian must go through before taking guardianship. Alexandra Evans discusses the requirements and their potential consequences for wards and guardians.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently determined the Indian Child Welfare Act to be overall constitutional, although it struck down certain provisions. Bailey Holt provides an overview of the act, and discusses the case and its implications.
To combat a shortage in certified private practice attorneys available to help Wisconsin’s youth, the State Public Defender Office (SPD) is offering training in juvenile justice practice. Diane Rondini discusses the SPD’s new project, Juvenile Rural Access to Training and Expertise (J-RATE).
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families recently promoted a new child welfare initiative that focuses on prevention and keeping families together. Azucena C. Guizar discusses the need to reach out to immigrant families in particular.
Is it time to reassess the Adoption and Safe Families Act requirement for termination of parental rights once a child has reached a total of 15 months in foster care? Lisa-Marie Line discusses the time limit and reasons why it may not be long enough to allow family reunification.
While governed by uniform guidelines, the practice of child welfare law varies from county to county across Wisconsin. Michael Puerner discusses the role of Judicial Engagement Teams: to bring together teams of community stakeholders to identify best practices and implement positive changes in child welfare cases.
The decision to put a child in adult criminal court should require a deliberate decision on the part of the judge, writes Alaina Fahley, who discusses the current reverse waiver proceeding to return youth to the juvenile justice system.
Abigail Hean discusses the “child welfare to juvenile justice to adult prison pipeline” – the failure of these systems to adequately address the needs of the youth they serve, ultimately causing more harm than good.
Elisabeth Stockbridge discusses efforts to address racial disparities and incarceration among emerging adults in Wisconsin.
Enacted in February 2020, 2019 Wisconsin Act 92 allows more adoptive family to receive adoption assistance. The end result, says Steven Konitshek, seems well worth the additional cost – more children finding their forever homes.
With the April 2018 revision of the termination of parental rights (TPR) ground for continuing need of protection or services, it is still unclear in certain cases which version of the law is applicable to certain cases. Jenni Spies Kara discusses the issue, to be heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in February 2021.
The National Juvenile Defender Center provides national leadership on juvenile defense issues, and is a valuable resource for those serving our youth, says Diane Rondini, who introduces the center’s initiatives for youth involved in the justice system.
As social media changes and evolves, so do the ways children can be targeted and abused – and helped. Brooke Houston discusses the ways the internet can be used to exploit and save children.
Chronic and persistent adversity impacts development in children as they grow into adults. Melissa Ivens discusses adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and reviews strategies that facilitate healthy development in children.
A new private minor guardianship law takes effect Aug. 1, 2020. In this second part of a two-part series, Courtney Roelandts provides tips and suggestions on how to prepare for a smooth transition.
A new private minor guardianship law takes effect Aug. 1, 2020. In this first of a two-part series on the new Wis. Stat. chapter 48, Beth Lauck provides a background of private minor guardianships and an overview of the changes under the new law.
School closures, social isolation, economic uncertainty, and resource limitations create a dangerous environment for children at risk of abuse and neglect. Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, Abigail Hean discusses the issue, and encourages communities to stay diligent.
The State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors recently adopted a policy, recommended by the Children and the Law Section, against the indiscriminate shackling of children in court. Eileen Fredericks outlines the need for the policy, and discusses where in Wisconsin this policy is now in action.
The legal community can strengthen families by providing, training, and supporting attorneys for parents involved in the child welfare system, says Alaina Fahley, who discusses what high quality parent representation would look like in Wisconsin.
Children are different from adults, and should be treated differently within the justice system, says law student Nicole Beitzinger, who explores considerations and recent case law on teens sentenced to life without parole.
Knowledge of a child's underlying trauma is the first step toward making the most appropriate recommendation regarding the best interest of the child. Kelsey Stefka discusses trauma-informed care and how it can be used by guardians ad litem to better understand their young clients.
Your views needed: The Wisconsin Legislature is exploring reform of Wisconsin’s termination of parental rights (TPR) and adoption systems. Emily Dudak Leiter discusses the details of these potential changes, and urges section members to take the poll, linked at the end of the article, to inform the section board of your views on these critical issues.
It is the task of guardians ad litem to get to know the issues their clients are struggling with. Christie A. Linskens Christie discusses the lessons that can be learned from the examination of mass incarceration's impact in one Wisconsin community, as shown in the award-winning film, Milwaukee 53206.
In February 2019, the Wisconsin Joint Legislative Council unanimously voted to support changes involving minor guardianships. Deanna Weiss discusses the changes proposed in AB 47.
Every year, the State Bar of Wisconsin Children and the Law Section Board holds an open board meeting. Any section member interested in participating is welcomed to attend the Feb. 22 meeting, says board member Katie Holtz, who also provides an update on section activities.
Recent Wisconsin Supreme Court oral arguments in Michels v. Lyons dissected the constitutionality of a grandparent visitation statute. Tiffany Highstrom and Sara Vanden Brook discuss the court’s recent oral arguments regarding the statute and cases involved.
Some states have decided that open adoption may be considered when it is in the best interests of the child. Brooklyn Kemp writes about the issues, benefits, and disadvantages of open adoption.
Called the "fastest-growing foster care initiative," kinship placement and adoption is on the rise. Kaitlyn Dvorak discusses what guardians ad litem should keep in mind about the benefits and challenges of recommending placement with family members.
A new legislative Act alters what a custodial parent must do to move or relocate with a child. Lisa-Marie Line outlines the changes, which became effective April 5, 2018.
Juveniles have a fundamental right to be tried only if competent. What happens when juveniles don’t become competent until they become an adult? Devon Lee discusses issues involved in a case taken up by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Petitioners should proceed carefully when using the newly revised Continuing Need of Protection or Services ground, writes Rebecca Kiefer.
Katie Holtz talks about a great way for section members to maximize their member benefits - by using the Children & the Law Section elist.
With more than 110 court-ordered out-of-state mental health residential care placements for youth in 2017, the lack of in-state options is of deep concern for many in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The upward trend is a disturbing one, says Eileen Fredericks.
Following the establishment of the Speaker's Task Force on Foster Care, a new legislative package of 13 bills, called Foster Forward, was introduced. Megan DeVore talks about the Foster Forward bills and their potential to bring significant changes to the child welfare system in Wisconsin.
Recent – and dramatic – changes in the law have granted marriage and parental equality to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families – but should same-sex parents still obtain a court order for adoption? Emily Dudak Taylor and Kristi Baker discuss the relevant recent cases and the best way to ensure a child’s access to both parents for years to come.
The Wisconsin Legislature’s new Task Force on Foster Care represents an opportunity to make meaningful change to keep children safe and to help Wisconsin families be successful, writes Sarah Henery, who encourages those with ideas to get involved.
The Children & the Law Section has established the Children & the Law Section Blog to provide its members with valuable information for attorneys who represent various parties including children, parents, and grandparents, as well as agencies that serve children