We are True North Child Advocates.
We are four lawyers from three states who share a common belief – that advocacy is the answer to our struggling child welfare system. We came together to create a podcast for children’s lawyers based on three key principles. This is our shared vision of the power of advocacy for children. This is the future we imagine will radically change the child welfare system.
We believe that, in defining representation for children, due process is not enough. In fact, it is the floor. It the base on which we build our advocacy for children. Our clients deserve and need so much more. We believe in child-centered representation. Getting children home faster is the best way of solving the child’s most critical legal problem.
Our Guiding Principles
The child’s attorney is in the driver’s seat of the litigation. By assuming the role of lead counsel, the child’s attorney has a major impact on the trajectory and timing of the case. At times, this means advocating for services for a parent. At other times, it means filing a termination of parental rights petition. The child’s attorney acts as lead counsel, rather than waiting for lawyers of other parties to do the work.
The child’s attorney recognizes the child’s number one legal problem – being in the custody of the State when the child should be in the custody of a family. Children’s lawyers do not get overwhelmed by addressing every possible issue in the case. Instead, they seek to solve those problems that tie directly to getting the child home permanently. By having a singular focus, we never lose sight of the ultimate goal – to get the child home for good.
The child’s attorney enforces permanency time frames as a right of the child. Every day a child spends in foster care, there is a lasting emotional cost to the child. That is why we treat the federal time frames as a right of the child. We move our cases forward quickly. We don’t wait for the next hearing, or allow time frames to be routinely extended. We push the system to abide by these time frames to get the child home in the fastest time possible.