State to release child welfare legal findings

LANSING, MI – A new study says Michigan needs to strengthen ways that parents are represented in child protection proceedings.

The study is to be released Tuesday by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law. It calls for improving the system by which attorneys are appointed to represent parents, resources available to those attorneys and accountability to both the client and courts.

The study recommends adopting a statewide administrative structure to address attorney compensation, support systems, training and oversight.

The study says improvements already have been made by providing the courts with comprehensive information about each child gathered by independent investigations and meetings with children before court hearings are held.