The History and Influence of the National Association of Counsel for Children – An Alternate Perspective

Children’s Legal Rights Journal, Vol. 39:1 2019

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 19-16

31 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019 Last revised: 26 Jun 2019

Date Written: February 27, 2019

Abstract

This article reviews and critiques the public statements and positions taken by the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) as part of a symposium celebrating the 40th anniversary of its founding. The article suggests that for too many years after it was founded in 1977, NACC ignored glaring problems in the child welfare arena, including the ease with which children were separated from their families and placed into foster and the exponential growth of terminating parental rights. In addition, the article shows that for too many years NACC's focus was on winning the intramural fight with the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) over which kind of representation for children is better while virtually ignoring how poorly parents were treated in the courtroom. In particular, NACC for far too long turned a blind eye towards the widespread failure to ensure that parents were well represented in child welfare cases. The article concludes on an optimistic note that NACC now appears more committed than ever to fight to keep families together whenever possible and has joined as an ally to the burgeoning movement of family defense which recognizes that, however important is the need for state power to protect children, it is equally important to guard against its misuse when it improperly destroys poor families.

Keywords: child welfare, lawyers for children, parent's rights, children's rights

Suggested Citation

Guggenheim, Martin, The History and Influence of the National Association of Counsel for Children – An Alternate Perspective (February 27, 2019). Children’s Legal Rights Journal, Vol. 39:1 2019; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 19-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3343712

Martin Guggenheim (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

245 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-6430 (Phone)
212-995-4037 (Fax)

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