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Advancing children's rights to be heard and protected: The model representation of children in abuse, neglect, and custody proceedings act



Litigation surrounding family matters can have a significant impact on children well into their adult years. Because their interests may differ from those of their parents or other caretakers, it is crucial that the legal system provide a mechanism to ensure that children's interests are both protected by and appropriately communicated to the family court. The legal community has not reached a consensus regarding how children's interests can best be protected – or the appropriate role for attorneys involved in such cases. In fact, a number of professional organizations have proposed standards that impose differing obligations upon attorneys. In this article, the strengths and limitations of various practice standards are compared and contrasted, with the focus being on how children's interests can best communicated to, and protected by, the court. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.