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American Bar Association

  Children's Rights Litigation

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DELAWARE
 

OFFICE OF THE CHILD ADVOCATE
900 King Street, Suite 210
Wilmington, DE 19801
Telephone:       (302) 255-1730
Fax:                 (302) 577-6831
Website:          courts.delaware.gov/childadvocate

 

Georgetown Address:
6 West Market Street, Suite 1
Georgetown, DE 19947
Telephone:       (302) 856-5720
Fax:                 (302)856-5722

 

100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

 

The Office of the Child Advocate began in 2000 in response to requests by advocacy groups for a statutory mandate for representation of children. Three staff attorneys, one full-time and two part-time social workers, and approximately 100 volunteer attorneys handle roughly 175 cases a year, primarily as guardians ad litem, but in some cases as attorneys advocating for the child’s best interest. Aside from representing children, the volunteer lawyers assist in the recruitment of other pro bono attorneys. Law students and volunteers from other professions are utilized as well. Trainings for volunteers are offered two to three times a year. To volunteer a lawyer should fill out an application and attend a one day training. Cases are then assigned by the Child Advocate and monitored through self-reporting and calls from staff members.

 

The Office of the Child Advocate does accept calls from children, however calls from the public are referred to private attorneys. The Office’s cases are referred from juvenile court, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals, the children themselves and other attorneys.

 

The Office also does advocacy regarding laws affecting children, community education and oversight of current policy within Delaware’s Child Welfare Office. The Office has also filed amicus briefs in impact litigation affecting children, including Brown/Cooper v. Division of Family Services (constitutional right to counsel). The Office has a pro bono training manual, updated in 2002, available for distribution.