Lawyers in CPCS’s Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) represent children and parents in cases in which the Department of Children and Families (DCF) removes children from their homes because of claims of neglect or abuse. These cases are called care and protection (C&P) cases or termination of parental rights cases. CAFL also provides lawyers to children and parents in child requiring assistance (CRA) cases. Some CRA cases involve parents asking the Juvenile Court for help with challenges at home; others involve children who are truant from school or who run away from home. We also represent children and parents in contested guardianship cases.
Most CAFL lawyers are private attorneys. Others are CPCS staff members, who work in partnership with CPCS staff social workers. Our staff offices include ten “public division” trial offices, a “public division” appellate office, and a “conflicts” trial office (which is wholly separate for conflict-of-interest purposes). Whether private or staff, our lawyers protect the rights of parents and children to remain together whenever possible and their right to be reunited quickly when children are removed from their homes. We also work to ensure that DCF and other agencies provide our parent and child clients the support and services they need and to which they are entitled under the law.
CAFL’s legal advocacy plays a critical role in cases that affect families. For a parent involved in a C&P case, having a skilled CAFL lawyer may mean the difference between the family’s reunification and the termination of parental rights – the “death penalty of family law.” For a teenager who is the subject of a truancy case, CAFL’s advocacy may secure the special education services that enable the client to succeed in school and avoid being placed in a foster home. For siblings looking for stability after the court has freed them for adoption, CAFL will fight to ensure that they are provided a permanent home – one that allows them to stay together.freedigitalphotos.net