Child Advocacy Attorney III
- Degree Level
Location: DeKalb Department: Child Advocate Center
Job Term: Full-Time
Occupational Group: Legal Occupations
Annual Range: $66,079 - $102,423
FT = Full Time Benefits
The DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center (DCCAC) represents the legal interests of children alleged to be abused or neglected, and in need of the protection of the Juvenile Court. We advocate for permanent and safe homes for child-clients and collaborate with multidisciplinary partners to address the well-being needs of all child-clients. The DCCAC strives to prevent prolonged or repeated involvement of children and their families with the child welfare and juvenile court systems.
DCCAC, a staff of attorneys, investigators and paralegal support, zealously advocates for the protection of the legal rights and best interests of at-risk children. Child-clients who are found to be dependent (abused and/or neglected) are generally placed in the legal custody of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and reside in foster homes, group homes, therapeutic facilities, or with biological or fictive relatives. Allegations of abuse and neglect are investigated by the DCCAC from the time a child is placed in DFCS custody. Representation and advocacy for the well-being and permanency needs of child-clients continues for as long as children remain under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. Organized as a function of DeKalb County Government, the DCCAC is distinct from DFCS but works closely with that agency to ensure holistic advocacy.
DeKalb County recognizes that protecting a child’s legal rights and best interests means more than courtroom advocacy. It requires the infusion of resources and opportunities that help to improve the lives and circumstances of children and their families. DCCAC works with stakeholders and community partners from all social-welfare-related fields to ensure that comprehensive intervention and services are available to meet our child-clients’ needs.
· Conducts factual and legal research and investigations. Prepares motions, pleadings, briefs and case review summaries. Conducts hearings in every stage of the dependency process including preliminary protective hearings, pre-trial hearings, adjudication hearings, disposition hearings, periodic review hearings, permanency hearings and motion hearings. Serves as lead attorney.
The following duties are normal for this position. These are not to be construed as exhaustive, exclusive or all-inclusive. Other duties may be required and assigned.
· Represent child-clients in abuse and neglect matters.*
· Manage large caseloads. Must possess the capacity to multi-task. (Caseloads average 70-90 active cases with a limit of 130 cases.)*
· Serve as lead counsel in 40-50 dependency (abuse and neglect) court hearings monthly. Prepare and present cases at all stages of litigation process.*
· Perform role of Duty Attorney, as assigned, including preliminary assessment and management of dependency complaints.*
· Must consider and assess the capacity and needs of child-clients and potential caregivers.*
· Must identify deficiencies in child-clients’ well-being including medical, mental health and educational needs; Identify and recommend resources to address said needs, thereby ensuring the physical/mental health, safety and welfare of child-clients. This duty requires: regular and repeated review of child-client assessments, evaluations, investigative reports, court pleadings and other written documents; review of audio and video evidence – which frequently contains explicit and extensively detailed information as to medical and mental health conditions; physical and mental disabilities and diagnoses; physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse of child-clients and related persons. Additionally, involvement with associated criminal, delinquent, domestic and other court systems is required where child-clients’ interests may be affected.*
· At least 40% of position duties include field work and investigations. Must be able to conduct field investigations during non-traditional work hours, as needed. Field efforts include: interviewing child-clients in foster care and other placements, interviewing lay and expert witnesses, evaluating current and proposed placements, securing records and other evidence, attending stakeholder meetings and other convening’s, attending child-client assessments, evaluations, as well as administrative and other legal proceedings.*
· Must have capacity to manage potentially volatile situations involving caregivers, child-clients, witnesses and other related parties.*
· Must assess needs of child-clients and seek to ensure the identification and implementation of appropriate intervention resources.*
· Must make recommendations regarding therapeutic, educational, rehabilitative and support services and as well as resource needs for families and children; Evaluate resources and monitor child-client’s status while in placement in order to ensure that resources adequately address child-client’s needs.*
· Must formulate recommendations regarding probable cause, adjudication and disposition of dependency matters (abuse and neglect cases) and permanency planning; Conduct preliminary, adjudicatory, dispositional, review and other hearings.*
· Conduct extensive research related to legal issues and resource-related needs of child-clients and their families.*
· Prepare trial and appellate level briefs, as well as motions and pleadings for court appearances;* Conduct extensive and repeated detailed review of voluminous case records pertaining to abuse and neglect as well as identify case law involving similar fact patterns. *
· Interview, investigate and examine child-clients and essential witnesses.*
· Must attend meetings, hearings and assessments regarding dependent client’s welfare with external agencies, stakeholders and court systems.*
· Monitor the compliance of guardians, parties and interested persons with court orders relating to reunification, intervention, rehabilitation and permanency planning. *
· Complete assignments, as directed, by department head or designee.*
· Serve as department liaison to external entities for the purpose of promoting collaboration, resource development, advocacy and education regarding relevant subject matter.*
· Prepare reports and correspondence that demonstrate analysis of complex legal and/or factual issues. *
· Must possess knowledge of A.S.F.A., C.A.P.T.A., Fostering Connections and other relevant federal and state guidelines regarding child welfare and permanency planning. *
· Must possess knowledge of Official Code of Georgia Annotated juvenile law code sections relating to child welfare and dependency law. *
· Must possess knowledge of Juvenile Court rules, regulations and procedures. *
· Maintain working knowledge of related social welfare disciplines and systems. *
* Represents essential functions.
- Juris Doctorate degree
- Three years of litigation experience as an attorney
- Valid Georgia driver’s license.
- Licensed member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia
- Appellate Experience
Please do not call to inquire about your application, as many applications are received each day. All applications will be put into a data bank in the order in which it is received.