Iowa seeks to improve representation for parents


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court has adopted new standards aimed at improving legal representation for parents in child welfare cases. The court adopted a rule Thursday requiring attorneys who are appointed to represent parents in juvenile court to complete three hours of continuing legal education annually.  Starting in 2015, attorneys who are not in compliance will not be able to take any more such appointments.

The court opted not to include an initial experience and training requirement for such attorneys, which a task force had recommended.  Separately, the court said it had adopted new standards giving guidance to such attorneys on best practices, such as trying to avoid delays and communicating appropriately with clients. Chief Justice Mark Cady writes that the court’s goal is to elevate children’s justice issues.