Why Children Facing Abuse Deserve A Free Attorney & How Child Advocates Is Taking The Lead To Give Them One | Podcast Episode 7

Posted on November 30th, 2021

Parents in a child welfare case in Indiana can get a free attorney to stand up for their rights—but not children. Child Advocates has broken new ground and is standing up for youth justice by launching a program where older children receive representation from an attorney… at no cost.

Find out how the Direct Representation program is changing children’s lives and saving the state money. Listen to our latest podcast.


  • Cindy Booth / Child Advocates CEO
  • Rachel Roman Lagunas / Director of Direct Representation
  • Angela Cain / Communications Consultant / Podcast Host




  • 3:35 – Why it is critical for older children in the child welfare system to have a lawyer and what they learn from them.
  • 5:27 – How children who are juvenile delinquents get more protections than a child in the child welfare system
  • 6:18 How there is no right in Indiana for a free court-appointed attorney for children and why Child Advocates believes children deserve one to stand up for what *they* want
  • 7:49 – “In what other area of law can a person be forcibly removed from their home …without a lawyer?” Rachel Roman Lagunas examines this question in relation to the child welfare system
  • 8:40 – A National Report Card gives Indiana a failing grade when it comes to a child’s right to counsel in abuse and neglect cases
  • 9:18 – Child Advocates’ CEO praises Indiana’s work in representing the child’s ‘best interest’ but says an attorney for older children gives them a direct voice in their future
  • 12:02 – Why Child Advocates hopes to show, through its Direct Representation program, how attorneys for older children will benefit the state and save money—with fewer children placed in costly, private facilities
  • 14:27 Success stories of how a Child Advocates’ attorney found older children a safe and secure home earlier
  • 24:00 – Child Advocates answers the question… “Does an older child have a clear understanding of what is best for them?”
  • 28:00 – How some foster kids age out of the system and are homeless, and how having their own attorney can help give them better outcomes
  • 29:26 – Why Child Advocates goes “where others fear to tread”, taking the lead in fighting for youth justice and race equity for children and youth
  • 33:19 – A breakdown of how much money Child Advocates one-year old Direct Representation program, with an attorney for older children, has already saved the state
  • 34:18 – How the community can stand up for children who face abuse and neglect and help change their lives

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