A new book focused on best practices for child representation has been coauthored by Don Duquette, ’74, clinical professor emeritus of law.
Duquette founded the Child Advocacy Law Clinic, the oldest such clinic in the United States, at Michigan Law in 1976. His latest book, Children’s Justice: How to Improve the Legal Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System (American Bar Association Publications, 2016), is the final report of a nearly seven-year, $6 million federal project known as the Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System (QIC-ChildRep). Directed by Duquette and funded by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, QIC-ChildRep sought to improve the quality of legal representation for children and youth in child welfare cases.
Children’s Justice highlights the work of QIC-ChildRep, which included a nationwide assessment of lawyer representation of the child and creation of a consensus best-practice model. The model was field tested in the first-ever random assignment experimental study of lawyer performance. The QIC-ChildRep best-practice model improved lawyer performance and resulted in measurable improvements in case outcomes for at least some of the children.
“Our book overcomes a national uncertainty as to how children should be represented and demonstrates empirically that lawyers practicing according to our model improve results for children,” Duquette says. “I hope that our work stimulates reform in the delivery of legal services to children. Without good lawyers, abused and neglected children are denied justice.”—LA