Our attorneys at Child Advocates provide a wide variety of legal services to best accommodate the specific needs of our community’s most vulnerable children. These services include but are not limited to; appellate work, motion practice, legal consultation, petitions, testimony and trial assistance, training, immigration, CAPTA, etc.
Legal Support for Youth
The Child Advocates Legal Department consists of attorneys who are experienced and committed to child welfare work and helping children achieve permanency.
Child Advocates Legal Services
Best Interest Advocacy
As attorneys for Guardians Ad Litem and Court Appointed Special Advocates, we assist CASAs in achieving what is in the child’s best interest in their Children in Need of Services (CHINS) cases. This is often completed through our assistance with testimony, courtroom or motion practice in advocating for the child’s need (placement, permanency plans, sibling contact, education, etc.) or filing for guardianship or third party custody. We also provide legal assistance in Terminating Parental Rights (TPR).
**Completed forms can be emailed to Carey Haley Wong, Chief Legal Counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Child Advocates Immigration Team assists children in the child welfare system with immigration issues. Often when youth are involved in both systems the steps to obtaining a safe, stable and permanent home can be overwhelming. Our team of attorneys assist youth with obtaining legal status in the United States, obtaining citizenship, and work permits, and obtaining copies of important immigration documents. We focus specifically on children who are involved in both systems to help ease the trauma and eliminate immigration related barriers to permanency.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW are children represented in Indiana child welfare cases?
By law all children in the child welfare system have a best interest advocate – a Guardian Ad Litem or CASA who is appointed by the court to advocate for a CHINS (Child in Need of Services). In advocating for the child’s best interest, the GAL or CASA may have an attorney to assist.
WHO are the children in the child welfare system?
The majority of children in Indiana’s child welfare system are under 10 years old.
WHAT do the attorneys in the legal department do?
Our clients are best interest advocates (GALs and CASAs). They are parties in every CHINS case in Indiana. We assist in completing tasks we believe are in the child’s best interest. For example, we help with discovery, assist in court with testimony or case presentation, file motions, conduct trainings, file petitions for guardianship, etc.
EXPLAIN the term “Best Interest Advocacy?”
Children in the child welfare system lack a parent who is capable of advocating for the child in their child welfare case. GALs and CASAs are tasked with fulfilling this role throughout the duration of a child welfare case. Advocates take into account the wishes of the child, while also recommending a course of action that he or she believe is in the youth’s “best interest.”