In this piece for the Chronicle of Social Change, Vivek Sankaran - director of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic at the University Michigan Law School - describes a recent invitation from the US federal government to make funding available to states, permitting "uncapped, matching federal child welfare funds under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act to support the representation of parents and children in the child welfare system." This opportunity, Sankaran says, "could lead to far fewer children being placed in foster care. It could expedite the reunification of those children in care. It could increase visitation between children in care and their parents. And it could get children into permanent homes more quickly, even when they can’t return home."
"The new availability of federal funding to support legal representation for parents and children allows states to remake their child welfare systems to produce the outcome that all stakeholders want – more children residing safely with families, increased contact between children and parents, and expedited legal proceedings," says Sankaran.
Read the second part of this column here.