Focused on challenges in child protective

The Michigan Supreme Court recently announced that the Child Protective Legal Representation Task Force will hold a public consultation to receive input regarding the challenges faced by families and to solicit ideas for potential solutions.

Michigan Supreme Court Justices Megan Cavanagh and Kyra Bolden formed the Task Force in response to the consensus that Michigan’s current system of providing legal representation to children and parents involved in child protective proceedings is in crisis.

Courts statewide are struggling to find and maintain court-appointed attorneys for this important work because of inadequate funding, competition from other private and publicly funded legal systems, and the complex nature of child protective proceedings.

As a result, parents and children in both urban and rural areas are receiving inconsistent and inequitable legal representation.

During the consultation period, which will last through Oct. 15, stakeholders will have many opportunities to participate. These include:

• Visiting the Task Force web page and filling out the public comment form.

• Signing up to attend one of the following in-person listening sessions with Justice Cavanagh and Task Force members:

  - Monday, Sept. 25 – Northern Michigan (12:30 to 4:30 p.m.)
  - Tuesday, Sept. 26 – Sault Ste. Marie (8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
  - Wednesday, Sept. 27 – Marquette (8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
  - Thursday, Sept. 28 – Gogebic County (8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
  - Both in-person and Zoom listening sessions to be scheduled in early October.

The in-person listening sessions will include separate times for families, for attorneys, and for court personnel so they can provide their comments without any pressure or influence from other stakeholders.

Additional details regarding the consultation will be posted on the Task Force web page at

The Task Force has already participated in several Zoom consultation sessions with attorneys and other stakeholders in Berrien County, Kent County  and statewide.

With the help of input from a broad range of stakeholders, the task force will consider how to improve the system of legal representation provided to children and parents in child protective proceedings.

The goal of the Task Force is to produce a report with recommendations for the Michigan Supreme Court, governor, and legislature, highlighting the critical need for reform and recommending various solutions.


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