West Michigan attorney appointed to statewide task force on child welfare court improvement

The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed West Michigan attorney Christopher Wirth (left) to the Michigan Court Improvement Program (CIP) Statewide Task Force.  The Task Force is a committee that advises the State Court Administrative Office’s Child Welfare Services division on its management of the CIP.

The CIP is a federally-funded grant program available to each state’s highest court, with the purpose of improving child protective proceedings through multi-disciplinary collaboration, planning, data sharing, and training.  CIP Task Force membership includes key stakeholders in Michigan’s child welfare system.

Last month, Governor Snyder reappointed Wirth to his second term on the Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect.  Wirth serves on that board’s law and policy committee which reviews and makes recommendations to the board regarding child welfare law, court rules and processes, and policies related to the Child Protective Services division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Wirth has served as lawyer to more than 500 children who are victims and survivors of child abuse and neglect.  He has also represented wrongfully accused parents in child abuse and neglect civil and criminal proceedings. 
Through his litigation practice, he has represented clients in more than 3,000 court appearances and over 100 trials throughout 21 Michigan counties, and the federal courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Michigan.

“The opportunity to be involved from both the executive and now judicial branches of Michigan government is an exciting extension of my work to improve and hold accountable the court-appointed legal representation that children are receiving in child welfare cases,” Wirth said.

Wirth has taught as a visiting law professor at the WMU Cooley Law School in Grand Rapids and as an adjunct law professor at Grand Valley State University.  He has served on the board of directors for the Ottawa County Bar Association since 2015.

Wirth is the founding member of Core Legal PLC, which he started in 2013.  Prior to that, Wirth practiced in the Grand Rapids’ offices of Dykema Gossett and Rhoades McKee.  He earned his law degree at Case Western Reserve University, his MBA from Grand Valley State University and his bachelor’s degree from Hope College.

Wirth’s wife, Amanda VanEssen Wirth, is also a West Michigan attorney.  She is currently the lawyer guardian ad litem for children in Ottawa County’s child abuse and neglect courts, and she represents Kent County Adult Protective Services under contract as a special assistant with the Michigan Attorney General’s office.  She is a Captain and JAG-lawyer for the Michigan Army National Guard.  VanEssen Wirth is currently serving in her appointment by the Governor to Michigan’s Human Trafficking Com-

mission.  She was elected in 2017 to co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party (MRP) after then chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel was selected to be chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC). The Wirths live in Jamestown, Michigan with 6 year old son, Noah.  They have offices in Hudsonville and Grand Rapids.


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