Multi-Disciplinary Legal Team
The most effective legal advocacy occurs both inside and outside of the courtroom. To accomplish this, DLS employs its own social workers, interns, paralegals, parent educators and administrative staff. Each team member is able to work with our clients to assist as needed. All DLS personnel are able to work with our community service providers and stakeholder partners to insure that gaps do not occur and that our families receive maximum assistance.
Local, Community Presence
The best way to serve a community is to be an active presence in that community. DLS strives to hire personnel who live in, and are from the counties we serve. Knowing the people, neighborhoods, schools, service providers and history makes our advocacy that much more effective. DLS personnel also train their community partners in the law and legal process, volunteer in civic and professional organizations, serve on local boards and commissions, and help serve our families in a variety of other ways.
State/National Training and TA Network
DLS personnel write and edit the leading treatise on California juvenile law. We have also served as editors and contributing authors to a number of other leading publications, including the first-ever national book relating to parent representation in child welfare proceedings. DLS personnel continue to teach on effective representation throughout the country. Through their service at the state and federal levels, DLS has access to the state’s and nation’s foremost authorities in juvenile law and invests its resources in having these professionals teach and provide case-specific technical assistance as needed. DLS personnel has taught on nearly every topic relating to child welfare representation, including effective client communication, trial advocacy and how to navigate agency processes to obtain results for clients.
Improving Child Welfare Outcomes
In each county we serve, DLS is committed to increasing reunification rates, increasing relative placement rates, decreasing a child’s length of stay in foster care and decreasing re-entry rates. DLS works with its system partners to effectuate systemic reform. Specific examples include:
• Establishing and/or expanding local Dependency Drug Court programs
• Working with system partners in strategic planning/program improvement efforts
• Legislative advocacy at the state and federal levels
• Engaging community volunteers to assist with parent mentoring or other needed support
• Membership in state and national boards/organizations dedicated to improving child welfar