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Friday, March 19 • 12:15pm - 1:15pm
A Parent Defense Dream Team: Parents Advocating for Parents

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As bleak as the child welfare landscape feels these days, the level of indigent parent defense has continued to RISE. Interdisciplinary legal representation is now accepted as a best practice across the country. Many states and local jurisdictions have worked incredibly hard to include social workers, peer mentors and social justice advocates on their parent defense teams, creating a community of lawyers and advocates who are holding child welfare professionals and courts accountable and impacting policy and legislation. We fight to treat families with more dignity and respect. The fight is far from over. Colorado has created a true interdisciplinary contractor model to provide enhanced advocacy for parents struggling to navigate the child welfare system. Our parent advocates are joining parent defense legal teams and giving parents hope. We will discuss why our stories matter and how peer advocacy on legal teams impacts the quality of legal representation and policy advocacy within a contractor model.

avatar for Jenny Chestnut

Jenny Chestnut

Executive Director, No More Locked Doors Ministries
After decades of addiction, abuse, and criminal behavior ended in the culmination of a 5-year prison sentence, her children lost in the foster care system, and everything she owned gone forever, it could have easily been the end for Jenny. However, through these dark, scary, and lonely... Read More →
avatar for Nate Hailpern

Nate Hailpern

Parent Advocate, Colorado Office of Respondent Parents' Counsel
Nate is an ORPC Parent Advocate using his life experiences to guide and advocate for parents trying to reunite their families. Nate entered the foster care system at age 8 and survived 26 different foster homes. The Colorado courts severed his parental rights to his mother, but he... Read More →
avatar for Jill Cohen

Jill Cohen

Social Worker - Director of Programs, Colorado Office of Respondent Parents' Counsel
Jill is the Social Worker - Director of Programs at the Colorado Office Respondent Parents’ Counsel where she helps parents’ attorneys obtain resources for their parent defense teams across the state. Jill recruits and trains social workers, parent advocates and experts who want... Read More →

Friday March 19, 2021 12:15pm - 1:15pm EDT
Room 2