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Practice Points

CLC publishes practice points for CLC Volunteer Attorneys and other child advocates who represent children in foster care. These practice points focus on pressing issues for foster care youth, including: placement, education, health, transitioning to adulthood, and many other legal matters pertaining to representing youth in foster care. If you are not currently a CLC Volunteer Attorney and would like to receive CLC’s Practice Points, it will be available as part of the CLC E-Newsletter, which you can sign up for in the newsletter box on our website.

PRACTICE POINT – NOVEMBER 2017

Ensuring Educational Stability  By: Sarah DeWitt, University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. Candidate, 2019) and Eikoku Ikeno, Staff Attorney

This practice point will look at the importance of ensuring educational stability and tips to advocate for your clients ability to remain in their school.  The article can be found here: November 2017 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – JUNE 2017

Preventing Re-entry Into Foster Care – By: Siyka Bozadjieva-Galiova, Research Attorney and Anne Tyler Gueinzius, Managing Attorney

This practice point will look at the role of a child’s attorney in preventing re-entry along with strategies that support reunification. The article can be found here: June 2017 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – APRIL 2017

What To Do If Your Client Receives Notice That Her Extended Foster Care Benefits Are Being Terminated – CLC wishes to thank Chelsea Ahmann, University of Minnesota Law School (JD Candidate 2017) and Julia Hillel, former CLC staff attorney, for their invaluable research and assistance in preparing this practice point.

This practice point will help you prepare for and understand some of the most common reasons a foster care youth receives a notice of termination of extended foster care benefits, provide arguments against a termination, and provide ways to remove the threat of termination. The article can be found here: April 2017 Practice Point

PRACTICE POINT – JULY 2015

Recent Changes to Minnesota’s Rules of Juvenile Protection Proceedures and Their Impact on Current Practice – By Anne Gueinzius, CLC Managing Attorney and Lauren Meads, University of Minnesota Law School Student (J.D. Candidate 2017)

The rules of practice for attorneys, parties and participants in child protection matters have been significantly amended.  These recent amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure became effective July 1, 2015.  Although the changes are technical in nature, several will affect practice much more significantly than others.  This practice point explains these changes and how they will impact CLC volunteer attorneys and their clients. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: July 2015 Practice Point

PRACTICE POINT – JUNE 2015

Northstar Care for Children: Promoting Permanency through Benefit Uniformity and Equalization – By Anne Gueinzius, CLC Managing Attorney and Alexandra Meyer, William Mitchell College of Law Student (J.D. Candidate 2016)

This Practice Point focuses on the Minnesota’s Northstar Care for Children Act, which went into effect January 1, 2015. The article can be found here: June 2015 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – MAY 2014

Permanency Best Practices for Minnesota’s Foster Care Youth – By Anne Gueinzius, CLC Managing Attorney and Julia Hillel, CLC Staff Attorney

CLC staff attorneys, Anne Gueinzius and Julia Hillel, co-wrote a law review article that was published in the William Mitchell Law Review. The article explores how to successfully approach the topic of permanency with foster care youth in Minnesota as well as how to effectively advocate permanency issues for these youth. As part of CLC’s Practice Point series Volume 33, the article can be found here: May 2014 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – FEBRUARY 2014

Understanding and Utilizing the Reasonable Efforts Standard in Child Protection Matters – By Julia Hillel, CLC Staff Attorney and Amy Ryan, CLC Volunteer Attorney

The term “reasonable efforts” is found throughout the Child Protection Section on Minnesota’s Juvenile Code. This simple phrase may play a big role in achieving positive results for your child client. Understanding the reasonable efforts standard at each stage of a child protection case can be an important tool to use to successfully represent your child. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: February 2014 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – OCTOBER 2013

A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act – CLC wishes to especially thank Jenny Austin, Esq. Baker McKenzie, LLP for her invaluable research and insight.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services 2012 Report on Child Welfare, American Indian children were placed in out-of-home care more than any other ethnic group, and at a rate 14 times that of white children.[1] Because American Indian youth are dramatically overrepresented in the foster care system it is important for CLC volunteer attorneys to understand the basics of the Indian Child Welfare Act (hereinafter “ICWA”).[2] Armed with basic knowledge of ICWA and the assistance of CLC, volunteer attorneys ensure that their clients with Indian heritage are assessed for ICWA eligibility and potential tribal enrollment and that procedures are followed and rights are upheld when ICWA applies. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: October 2013 Practice Point

PRACTICE POINT – JULY 2013

Trauma-Informed Developments in Minnesota’s Child Welfare System – By Rachel Ayoub, MSW and Anna Beadle, Esq.

As an attorney for children in foster care, not only is it crucial to consider their trauma histories in your work with them, but also to be aware of the services and resources available to address their trauma histories, as well trends in child welfare.  To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: July 2013 Practice Point

PRACTICE POINT – MAY 2013

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) – Thank you to CLC’s law student interns Eikoku Ikeno and Katie Choi for their research and work on the development of this practice point.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a broad term that covers the continuum of physical, mental, and behavioral deficits observed among individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS), Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND), and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD) are conditions within the FASD “umbrella.” To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: May 2013 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – MARCH 2013

UNDERSTANDING PROTECTIVE SUPERVISION – By Amy Ryan, University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. candidate 2013) and Anna Beadle, CLC Staff Attorney

In most of Children’s Law Center of Minnesota’s cases, the disposition of the Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) proceeding is transfer of legal custody to the social services agency (hereinafter “the agency”), followed by an out-of-home placement, which could be a family foster home, group home, or residential treatment center. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: March 2013 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – JANUARY 2013

ENSURING EDUCATIONAL STABILITY: School Stability is Important for Youth. – CLC wishes to especially thank Michelle S. Grant, Esq. and Bobbi Leal, Dorsey& Whitney, LLP for their invaluable research and insight as well as CLC volunteer attorney Alyssa Young for her assistance in preparing this practice point.

In Minnesota, all children who are over seven years of age and eligible for foster care payments must be full-time elementary or secondary school students, unless they have graduated from secondary school. For those youth experiencing trauma and chaos, school can provide a safe haven and security that may not otherwise exist. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: Practice Point Ensuring Educational Stability 2017

PRACTICE POINT – SEPTEMBER 2012

Overview of State Ward Process: NEW Adoption Provisions for Children Under the Guardianship of the Commissioner – By Melissa Panzer, University of Iowa College of Law (J.D. Candidate, 2013) and Managing Attorney, Anne Tyler Gueinzius

State wards, or children “under guardianship of the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services,” are children whose parents’ parental rights have been terminated by the court. State wards live in foster care, an institutional group home, or a residential treatment center until either adoption or termination of court jurisdiction. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: September 2012 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – JULY 2012

What Minnesota’s New Legislative Changes Mean for Sibling Advocacy – By: Eikoku Ikeno, University of Minnesota Law School Student (J.D. Candidate, 2014) and Anne Tyler Gueinzius, Managing Attorney

The sibling relationship is often cited as not only the longest lasting, but one of the most significant relationships in a person’s life. This relationship typically lasts decades longer than relationships with parents, spouses or children, which respectively end with a parent’s death, do not begin until adulthood or wane with children reaching adulthood. Sibling research has shown that the positive sibling relationships play an important part in the growth of children’s understanding of emotions, thoughts and beliefs, increased social functioning, elevated self-esteem, and more opportunities for early cognitive development. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: July 2012 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – MAY 2012

Ethical Concerns When Representing Foster Care Youth – By: Bethia Hyatt, JD 2012 and Anne Tyler Gueinzius, Managing Attorney

Attorneys representing child clients in foster care proceedings have the same ethical obligations to their child clients as to their adult clients; however, child clients can present different ethical challenges. The nature of the proceedings as well as the young age of the client can present a more casual courtroom environment for the child attorney. This casual environment and a desire to protect previously abused and neglected child clients can give rise to potential ethical concerns for an attorney representing a foster care client. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: May 2012 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – MARCH 2012

Using the Public Private Adoption Initiative and Child-Specific Recruitment to Achieve Successful Adoptive Placements for Children in Foster Care – By: Jenna Skees, Hamline University School of Law Student (J.D. Candidate 2013) and Anne Tyler Gueinzius, Managing Attorney

Identifying and securing permanent homes for foster children who are unable to safely return to their biological families has long been a central purpose of the child welfare system. The cost to children not adopted from foster care is stunning – “with youth experiencing higher rates of incarceration, homelessness, unintended pregnancy and truncated educations. By every measure, children adopted from foster care have better outcomes than children who age out.”Child-specific recruitment is one way to better ensure that children are receiving the specialized attention and services they need in order to find successful adoptive home…To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: March 2012 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – JANUARY 2012

CLC Practice Point: Minor Consent for Health Care Services and Access to Minors’ Health Records: General Application to Minnesota Foster Care Youth – By Catherine London, University of Minnesota Student (J.D., M.P.H. Candidate, 2012) and Anne Tyler Gueinzius, Managing Attorney.

As an attorney representing youth in foster care, it is important to understand the law governing medical consent as it applies to your client. It is also crucial to know who may have access to your client’s medical records at various stages of a case. Understanding these laws and considerations will help ensure that your client receives timely and appropriate medical care. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: Jan 2012 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – NOVEMBER 2011

Child Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act – By: Frank DiPietro, William Mitchell Law School Student (J.D. Candidate 2014), Jenna Skees, Hamline University Law School Student (J.D. Candidate, 2013) and Anne Tyler Gueinzius, Managing Attorney.

On September 30, 2011, President Obama signed H.R. 2883, otherwise known as the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, into law. This new legislation, primarily addresses reauthorization and modification of child and family service programs under Title IV-B and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act and is relevant to all CLC clients. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: NOV 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – SEPTEMBER 2011

ADVOCATING FOR FOSTER YOUTH WHO ARE PRESCRIBED PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS – By Julia Hillel Larsen – CLC Staff Attorney

Over a third of child clients represented by the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota (CLC) take psychotropic medications and many of these clients take more than one psychotropic medication at the same time. Youth in foster care are much more likely to be on psychotropic medications than youth in the general population. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: Sept 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – AUGUST 2011

Interacting with the Police – By Alexandra Platt, University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. Candidate, 2012) and Anne Gueinzius, Managing Attorney

Juveniles may encounter police in many different ways. Police may interact with both juvenile suspects and victims as they respond to dispatched calls for police service, or police may initiate encounters with those they suspect of mischief. In each situation, whether stopped for questioning, stopped as a result of a traffic violation, or taken into custody, a youth is entitled to specific rights. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: August 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – JULY 2011

Education Advocacy – By Anne Gueinzius, Managing attorney and Anna Beadle, AmeriCorps*VISTA attorney. Many thanks to CLC Interns Paula Polasky, University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. Candidate, 2013) and Alexandra Platt, University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. Candidate, 2012) for their contributions

Children in foster care face numerous obstacles upon entry into the child protection system. Child advocates representing these school aged children must help them navigate their way through their various educational milestones. Being a strong advocate for your foster care client can help ensure your client’s education success. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: July 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – JUNE 2011

Juvenile Delinquency Records and Expungement – By Alexandra Platt, University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. Candidate, 2012) and Linda Foreman, CLC Executive Director (Also many thanks to Andrew Peters and Theresa Bevilacqua of Dorsey & Whitney for their contribution to this practice point)

A youth age 10 and older can obtain a delinquent record due to an arrest (even if no charges follow), a charge (even if later dismissed), and an adjudication of delinquency (even if the adjudication is stayed). A widespread belief about the juvenile justice system is that few, if any, repercussions exist for minors with a delinquent record. In actuality, a juvenile arrest or conviction can haunt an individual for years after reaching adulthood. Aside from the stigma associated with a juvenile justice record, both arrest and conviction records can frustrate an individual’s attempts to enroll in college, find a job, or rent an apartment. These records rarely disappear with age and often are publicly accessible. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: June 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – MAY 2011

Placement Advocacy for Clients in Foster Care – By Anna Beadle, AmeriCorps*VISTA attorney

Of Minnesota’s 5,410 youth in foster care in 2009, 16.5% were placed with a relative, 43.8% were in non-relative family foster homes, 11.2% were in pre-adoptive homes, and 24.7% were in congregate care—10.1% in group homes and 14.5% in institutions. Youth may spend years in foster care and may live in multiple placements. These youth often live with the insecurity of not knowing where they will live. They may worry about the impact a move will have on their lives. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: May 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – APRIL 2011

IDENTITY THEFT AND YOUR CLIENT – By Jonathan Schaan, CLC Volunteer, and Anna Beadle, AmeriCorps*VISTA attorney

Identity theft has become a significant problem for youth in foster care. According to one report, up to one half of all youth who age out of foster care find that they’ve been robbed of their identity. This can have devastating effects when youth begin living independently. They may be unable to rent an apartment, obtain a car loan or financial aid, open a checking account or credit card, or renew their driver’s license. They may receive bills or collection notices, be denied SSI or welfare services, or even be arrested for activity in which they were not involved. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: April 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – MARCH 2011

PERMANENCY ROUNDTABLES: A NEW APPROACH TO FINDING PERMANENCY FOR OLDER FOSTER CARE YOUTH – By Anne Tyler Gueinzius, Managing Attorney. (Also many thanks to CLC Volunteer Jonathan Schaan for his contribution to this practice point)

Too many children in foster care leave care without a permanent connection. Studies have continually found that foster care children without permanent connections do not fare well after leaving care. A recent Chapin Hall study showed that of the 23- or 24-year-olds surveyed who had left foster care without a permanent connection, close to 40 percent had been homeless or “couch surfed,” nearly 25 percent had not earned their high school diploma or GED, only around 50 percent were currently employed, 67 percent of women had become pregnant, and 45 percent of men had been incarcerated. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: March 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – FEBRUARY 2011

Approaching and Advocating the Issue of Permanency – By Suriya Khong, University of Minnesota Law School (JD Candidate, 2011) and Julia Hillel Larsen, CLC Staff Attorney, (Also many thanks to CLC Volunteer Jonathan Schaan for his contribution to this practice point)

Permanency is both a process and a result wherein children locate and create a lifelong supportive, secure, safe, and stable parenting relationship with at least one unconditionally committed and caring adult. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: Feb 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – JANUARY 2011

What the Child’s Attorney Should Know About Relative Searches – By: Jessie Shiffman, University of Minnesota Law School Student (J.D. Candidate, 2012) and Lori D. Semke, CLC Systemic Reform Program Director

For children who have suffered the trauma of being removed from their homes and placed in foster care, being placed with a relative can prevent the additional trauma of multiple moves to unfamiliar homes. Studies of foster care outcomes have shown immense benefits from children being placed with relatives, including fewer placement disruptions, better preservation of contacts between children and their parents, and preservation of relationships to familiar adults and the child’s culture and environment. To read more, click here for a printable PDF version: January 2011 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – DECEMBER 2010

Approaching the Issue of Sibling Contact – By: Benjamin Shaw, Hamline University Law School Student (J.D. Candidate, 2012) and Anne Tyler Gueinzius, Managing Attorney

As the holiday season begins, many of us are planning family gatherings, meals and celebrations; however, if you are a child in foster care, your holiday plans may be very different. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a child in foster care for the holidays and separated from your parents and your siblings? To read more, click here for the Web Version of December’s Practice Point, or click here for a printable PDF version: December 2010 Practice Point

VisitMN Adopt to search for and learn about foster children and siblings in Minnesota who are waiting for adoptive homes.

 

PRACTICE POINT – NOVEMBER 2010

PROTECTING CONFIDENTIALITY IN CHILD PROTECTION CASES – By: Kyle Fisher, University of Minnesota Law School Student (J.D. Candidate, 2012), And Lori Semke, CLC System Reform Program Director

The experience of representing a child in foster care is a unique one, different from the typical adult client relationship. Not only are the interactions with a child client inherently different from those with an adult client in tone, demeanor and complexity, the court proceedings and interactions with other parties often have a more informal feel. To read more, click here for the Web Version of November’s Practice Point, or click here for a printable PDF version: November 2010 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – OCTOBER 2010

HOW TO EFFECTIVELY ADVOCATE FOR A FOSTER CHILD WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES – By Julia Hillel Larsen – CLC Staff Attorney

Ensuring that your child client with mental health needs receives consistent and individualized mental health services in a timely manner will undoubtedly have a positive impact on all aspects of your client’s future. Effectively advocating for your client’s mental health needs will play an integral role in your client’s placement stability, ability to learn and overall development. To read more, click here for the Web Version of October’s Practice Point, or click here for a printable PDF version: October 2010 Practice Point

 

PRACTICE POINT – SEPTEMBER 2010

Trauma and the Developing Child – By Kyle Dareff, William Mitchell College of Law Student (JD Candidate, 2012) and Weida Y. Allen, MSW, CLC Staff Social Worker

There are about 500,000 children in foster care throughout the country at any given time. In Minnesota alone, 185 children enter the foster care system each week. Most of these children have experienced trauma in their lives.

PRACTICE POINT – AUGUST 2010

Understanding Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and What it Means for Immigrant Children in Foster Care – By Kyle Dareff, William Mitchell College of Law Student (JD Candidate, 2012), And Linda Foreman, CLC Executive Director

Imagine that you are five years old and have spent the first years of your life in a country where English is not widely spoken. This country is where your network of family and friends are located. Suddenly, your parents send you to the U.S. with a family friend because they believe that you will have more opportunities there.

PRACTICE POINT – JULY 2010

Navigating New Legislation That Will Benefit Your Foster Care Clients- By Lori D. Semke, Program Director- Systemic Reform

Exciting legislation was passed in Minnesota this year that will directly benefit Minnesota’s foster children. First, foster care youth are entitled to receive services and benefits until they are 21, and Minnesota law now provides a mechanism for the juvenile courts to keep jurisdiction over those cases where youth are taking advantage of foster-care-to-21 services.

PRACTICE POINT – JUNE 2010

EFFECTIVE CHILD ATTORNEY PRACTICE – by Managing Attorney Anne Tyler Gueinzius

Once a child enters foster care, her day-to-day life has changed drastically. Her living and sleeping spaces are completely new. She may have to attend a brand new school in the middle of the school year because she is now a “foster care kid.” Her siblings may be separated from her and in new placements themselves. She has met numerous adults who repeatedly ask her the same questions over and over again and she has no idea what will happen next.

PRACTICE POINT – MAY 2010

ENGAGING THE CHILD CLIENT By Weida Y. Allen, MSW – CLC Staff Social Worker

When working with abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes, part of your role is to lessen the trauma and instability children face and be part of a stable healing process. How you choose to interact with foster children can make a big difference in their lives.

PRACTICE POINT – APRIL 2010

HOW TO GET CLE CREDITS FOR YOUR PRO BONO EFFORTS By Linda S. Foreman- CLC Executive Director

Did you know that Minnesota lawyers can get Continuing Legal Education credits for complying with the pro bono publico legal services requirement in Rule 6.1 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct? So, in addition to providing much needed legal services to a CLC child-client in foster care, you can get CLE credits!

PRACTICE POINT – MARCH 2010

A Lawyer’s Check-Up: How to Be an Advocate for Your Child Client’s Medical Needs and Rights By Lori Semke- CLC Systemic Reform Program Director

Studies have shown that foster children, as a group, suffer from more sickness and chronic medical problems than homeless and impoverished children. The rates at which they suffer physical, developmental and mental health problems are disproportionately high. It is ever more important, that everyone involved in a foster care matter work hard to identify and address the health needs of foster children.

PRACTICE POINT – FEBRUARY 2010

EFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION OF OLDER FOSTER CARE YOUTH TRANSITIONING OUT OF THE SYSTEM By Anne Tyler Gueinzius- Managing Attorney

Youth involved in the child protection system face unique challenges as they approach the transition to adulthood. Many young people who are raised in families remain in their parents’ homes and draw upon parental support – financial and otherwise – well after reaching 18.