The most effective legal advocacy occurs both inside and outside of the courtroom.

A successful outcome in a child welfare case involves the client exiting the system for good. But before they can do that, we need to address the root causes that led them to enter the system in the first place.

In addition to experienced attorneys, Dependency Legal Services (DLS) provides access to a multidisciplinary team that can include investigators, social workers, parent partners, psychologists and other professionals as needed on a given case.

What is Multidisciplinary Advocacy?

Through multidisciplinary advocacy, attorneys work with other professionals as part of the attorney-client team. This enables the team to identify issues, provide holistic support for families and address barriers to children returning home safely.

Under the direction of the case-carrying attorney, the DLS team works both inside and out of the courtroom to achieve the desired outcomes. We also work with our community service providers and stakeholder partners to prevent gaps and ensure that our families receive maximum assistance.

The Impact

We’ve seen the impact that a multidisciplinary advocacy approach can have first hand.

Dependency Legal Services partnered with the Family Justice Initiative to bring a parent mentor program to Solano County and to expand the use of social workers in support of parent and child representation in Marin County. These programs contributed to more stability for foster children, increases in the numbers of children going home, and a rate of almost zero re-entries into the foster care system during the most recent reporting period.

Happy family together

Members of the Communities We Serve

Dependency Legal Services staff live in and are from the counties that they serve. Our model is tailored to fit the unique needs and culture of each community. 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.