At today's workshop, Consulting with Children on Permanency: Developing Best Practices, approximately 65 judges, magistrates, legislators, practitioners, foster youth, academics, case workers, and CASA volunteers participated in a strategic planning workshop to address Colorado’s implementation of Senate Bill 226. The Juvenile and Family Law Program teamed up with Bridging the Gap at Mile High United Way, State Court Administrator’s Office, Office of the Child’s Representative, and National Association of Counsel for Children to host the workshop.
The new state law requires that in permanency hearings in dependency and neglect proceedings the court must consult with youth in an age appropriate manner concerning the proposed permanency plan. The goal of the workshop was to help participants develop a plan for implementing the law that would work best in their area, given the unique needs of the location. The broad language of SB 226 raises numerous questions, such as how to develop a process that incorporates this requirement, how to make good use of everyone’s time, how to prepare the youth for the hearing, how to identify a youth’s needs, and how and when to bring in support people to the hearing. After a morning of presentations by experts in the field, workshop participants broke into three working groups to address these issues.
|Marvin Ventrell, President and CEO of the National Association of Counsel for Children, leads a concluding discussion on consulting with children.|