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Office of the Child Attorney

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Welcome to the Office of the Child Attorney | Print |

Mission

The mission of the Office of the Child Attorney is to zealously and effectively advocate for the legal rights and protections of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected throughout the entire deprivation process in FultonCounty’s Juvenile Court as mandated by Kenny A. v. Perdue, the Georgia Constitution and Georgia law.

History

The Office of the Child Attorney dates back to the early 1990's when “Child Advocate Attorneys” were managed by the Fulton County Juvenile Court.

In 2006, the Kenny A. Consent Decree resolved ongoing litigation over the representation of children in Fulton County Juvenile Court. During that time the Office was managed by the Public Defender's Office. In 2007, the management of the Office of the Child Attorney was transferred to the Fulton County Manager's Office, with oversight by the five-member Child Attorney Board. The Office of the Child Attorney has strategically grown since being placed under the Office of the CountyManager.

Overview

The Office of the Child Attorney currently employs a multi-disciplinary staff which includes eighteen attorneys, four investigators, one social worker, one educational advocate, and four administrative staff persons, all under the guidance of a Director. (download this information)

Facts and figures on child abuse and neglect

  • In 2007, Georgia had 63,621 total referrals for child abuse and neglect. Of those, 48,965 reports were referred for investigation.
  • In 2007, 35,729 children were substantiated or indicated as abused or neglected in Georgia, a rate of 14.1 per 1,000 children, and representing a 10.2% decrease from 2006. Of these children, 21,689 were neglected, 2,873 were physically abused, and 1,080 were sexually abused.
  • In 2007, 61 children in Georgia died as a result of abuse or neglect.
  • In 2007, 12,236 children in Georgia lived apart from their families in out-of-home care, compared with 13,175 children in 2006. In 2007, 4,672 of the children living apart from their families were age 5 or younger, and 1,778 were age 16 or older.
  • Of the 9,606 children exiting out-of-home care in Georgia in 2007, 45.1% were reunited with their parents or other family members.
  • In 2008, approximately 111,608 Georgia grandparents had primary responsibility caring for their grandchildren.
  • In 2007, 1,267 children were legally adopted through the public child welfare agency in Georgia, a 1.4% increase from 1,250 in 2006.

Program Targets:

  • Child Involvement in Court Proceedings:
    - Ensure that every child client’s voice is heard in every court proceeding which affects
    the child's life.
  • Provide effective advocacy to children at all times:

    - Ensure that every partner in the child welfare system has the necessary information
    and training to put every child client’s safety and well-being above all else.
  • Strive to provide reasonable efforts for stability, safety, reunification and a decreased removal rate:
    - Ensure that Georgia's child welfare laws reflect the needs of our children and are a
    model for the nation.

Services available from the Fulton County Office of the Child Attorney:

  • Client-directed legal representation at all trial and hearing to child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • Educational advocacy on issues, as needed, on behalf child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • Social services and referrals on issues, as needed, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • Home assessments, as needed, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • Investigative services, as needed, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • GCIC background checks, as needed, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
 
 

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