How To Prevent Family Separation and Keep Them Out of Court

2024 Partners for Justice Conference (2)

How To Prevent Family Separation and Keep Them Out of Court

Room 349: 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM

Providing services to marginalized and impoverished families before Child Protective Services separates children from their parents and removes them from their home can be accomplished by establishing an interdisciplinary prepetition advocacy program. The Better Together Early Family Advocacy Program, part of the Parental Defense Division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, was launched in September of 2023 and provides the services and support of an attorney, social worker, and parent advocate who has experienced first-hand navigating the criminal and/or family policing system. Legal service providers can help make a positive impact on their community by providing assistance before there is a legal proceeding, with the goal of keeping families intact, especially Black and Brown families, who are disproportionately impacted by the legal system. Strengthening families will strengthen communities.



Moderator: Hon. Cathy H. Serrette, Circuit Court for Prince George's County