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Gov. Ducey signs law appointing lawyers to every child in foster care

Social workers say the lack of in-person learning adds another obstacle for foster youth.
Social workers say the lack of in-person learning adds another obstacle for foster youth.(HNN)
Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 8:49 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With the stroke of a pen, history is made in Arizona. On Wednesday, April 14, Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bull 1391 with gives every child in foster care legal representation.

“When a child enters foster care, a court case is initiated. Parents are appointed lawyers to protect their rights, the Arizona Department of Child Safety is appointed lawyers, yet the victim in the case – the abused child – was not given legal representation,” architect of the bill, Rebecca Masterson said.

According to a news release, children are 3.5 times more likely to leave foster care faster if they have an attorney representing their case. Children who can safely return home do so while children who need families are adopted quicker and with fewer delays.

“Lawmakers from every corner of our state stood arm-in-arm to remedy this injustice for Arizona’s abandoned and abused kids,” Masterson said.

Gen Justice works to mend the child protection system and bring a permanent end to innocent children enduring violence. Representatives with the company played a large role in passing the bill.

“An attorney with a legal and ethical duty to the child is among the most important protections we can give a child who has been abandoned or abused. Representation is a cornerstone of the American justice system,” Gen Justice Founder and CEO, Darcy Olsen said.

The bill, sponsored by Arizona Sen. Nancy Barto passed the Arizona legislature unanimously.

CLICK HERE to see the bill.

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