News Item
CHIPS Parent Attorney Qualification Standards Repealed

Posted: Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Minnesota Judicial Branch today shared information on how a new law passed by the Minnesota Legislature during the 2021 special session will affect attorneys appointed to represent parents, guardians, and legal custodians in juvenile protection cases.  

Since 2012, attorneys appointed to represent parents, guardians, and legal custodians in juvenile protection cases have had additional qualification requirements. Minn. Stat. 260C.163, subd. 3(i), provided that court-appointed counsel for these individuals needed to meet one of the following qualifications:
      "(1) has a minimum of two years' experience handling child protection cases; (2) has training in handling child protection cases from a course or courses approved by the Judicial Council; or (3) is supervised by an attorney who meets the minimum qualifications under clause (1) or (2)."

That requirement has now been repealed effective July 1, 2021 (see 1st. Sp. Chapter 7, Article 9, section 5 and 1st. Sp. Chapter 14, Article 11, section 35). Court-appointed attorneys for parents, guardians, and legal custodians now have the same qualification requirements for representing parties in juvenile protection cases as county attorneys, public defenders, and other attorneys.

The CHIPS Parent Attorney Roster of qualified attorneys maintained by the State Court Administrator’s Office will sunset. A list of attorneys who were on the Roster as of the sunset date will be made available to everyone on the court’s website for historical purposes. In terms of resources moving forward, the parent attorney community is working to develop a list of attorneys in each district as a resource to one another and to others who ask. They are also exploring ways to further develop interest in the work statewide to meet the growing demand for parent attorneys in juvenile protection cases.

Currently there is high-quality, relevant, and accessible online core skills training available to attorneys in each district to prepare them to handle child protection cases, as well as a series of ongoing training opportunities and a robust list serve to support them in their efforts.

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