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Children and Family Law Division

The Children and Family Law (CAFL) Division provides legal representation to children and indigent parents in child welfare matters, including care and protection proceedings, children in need of services cases (CHINS), actions to terminate parental rights, state agency-sponsored guardianships, and any other child custody proceeding where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is a party or where the court is considering granting custody to DCF.  In Massachusetts, both children and indigent parents have a right to representation by counsel in child welfare cases.  See G. L. c. 119, § 29 and Dep’t of Public Welfare v. J.K.B., 379 Mass. 1 (1979).  Representation is provided by a panel of private court appointed attorneys and by staff attorneys in offices throughout the state.

Admission onto the CAFL trial panel is by application only and requires satisfactory completion of a 7-day training program combining substantive law and trial skills. See CAFL Trial Panel Certification Requirements. Upon completion of the trial certification training, attorneys are assigned to an experienced CAFL attorney for mentoring and support. Regional Coordinators also are available to provide advice and technical assistance to CAFL attorneys.
Admission to the CAFL appellate panel requires application and completion of our appellate training program.  See CAFL Appellate Panel Certification Requirements.



CAFL TO OFFER 5-DAY TRIAL PRACTICE TRAINING FOR TRIAL PANEL ATTORNEYS ON  MAY 28- 29 & JUNE 4-6,
2014 IN WORCESTER, MA

CAFL is offering a unique opportunity for a number of our private panel CAFL attorneys to participate in a five-day trial practice training program designed specifically for child welfare attorneys.  Whether you are getting ready to try your first termination case, or you would like to brush up on your knowledge and skills, this training is for you.  If you are willing to contribute the time and effort, we will provide the training, materials, and expertise at no expense to you.  Participation in this program will satisfy your CAFL CLE obligations for fiscal years 2014 and 2015!  For more information and a copy of the application, please click on the link below.

5-Day Trial Practice Training Program Application

 



CAFL CURRENTLY IS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR ITS APRIL 2014 TRIAL PANEL CERTIFICATION TRAINING AND THE MAY 2014 APPELLATE PANEL CERTIFICATION TRAINING.  CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO DOWNLOAD INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRAINING AND THE APPLICATION FORM.

Due to a critical shortage of attorneys in some counties, we are continuing to accept applications for the trial panel certification training.  However, we currently are reviewing applications and will begin to fill training spots.  We  recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.

Trial Panel Information and Application

Appellate Panel Information and Application

CAFL Administrative and Staff Offices

CAFL CLE Calendar

Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) Materials

Summaries of Recent Cases

CAFL News

Regional Coordinators

Certification Requirements

Performance Standards for CAFL Attorneys

CAFL Training Unit (training announcements, applications, CLE calendar, Summaries of Recent Cases, materials from prior trainings, etc.)

Administrative Matters and Forms

Useful Links to Other Websites

CAFL Recertification Application