Certification of Lawyers as Specialists in Child Welfare Law
Between 2002 and 2007, Michigan Law, in partnership with the National Association of Counsel for Children and with support from a grant from the U.S. Children's Bureau, defined a new legal specialty of "child welfare law," achieved form recognition of the specialty from the American Bar Association, and launched the NACC Child Welfare Law Specialty Certification program. Prof. Don Duquette was codirector of the National Association of Counsel for Children's national project to certify lawyers as specialists in child welfar law. The new certification program is intended to recognize the very best children's lawyers and requires a careful screening, substantial involvement in the field (30 percent or more of the lawyer's time spent in child welfare), and passing a challenging four-hour national examiantion in child welfare law. In 2006, the first Child Welfare Law Specialists (CWLS) were recognized. Both Prof. Vivek Sankaran and Prof. Frank Vandervort are credentialed as CWLS. The NACC is steadily and systemically making the certification program available across the nation.
For a summary of the NACC Certification Program, read Prof. Duquette's article, Kiddie Law is Growing Up: Board Certification in Child Welfare Law.
For more information, to download official certification materials, and to check on the availability of NACC child-welfare law certification in your jurisdiction, go to the NACC website.
Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect and Dependency Proceedings (Bradford Legal Publishers, May 2005), defines the scope and duties of a new legal specialty in child-welfare law and prepares experienced lawyers for a national certifying examination.