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Professor C. Peters Advocates for Children’s Legal Rights

October 5th, 2016

Clark Peters

Professor Clark Peters was one of several experts who participated in a Congressional briefing on children’s legal rights in the court system. He reported that minors in dependency courts currently do not have the right to their own counsel, therefore compromising the degree to which their views can get expressed and their interests safeguarded.

Professor Peters explained the evidence that minors have better outcomes when represented by their own attorneys. According to Professor Peters, currently 29 states require appointment of representation for children, but often these attorneys represent their “best interests” rather than the children themselves.

“Advocates, unlike attorneys, may not always represent the child’s expressed wishes,” Professor Peters says, and that representation works best when it is coordinated with the work of other advocates and court professionals.

The American Bar Association, Children’s Advocacy Institute, First Focus and the National Association of Counsel for Children all sponsored the briefing.

Professor Peters is an associate professor in the University of Missouri School of Social Work and holds a courtesy appointment in the School of Law.

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