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TCL > October 2002 Issue > Organizations Committed To Serving Children

October 2002       Vol. 31, No. 10       Page  57
Children and the Law

Organizations Committed To Serving Children

Attorneys in Colorado are fortunate to enjoy the resources of national and statewide organizations committed to serving children. Below is a list of just a few of these groups. For information on more organizations, contact Gerald Marroney or Daniel P. Gallagher at the Colorado Judicial Department: (303) 861-1111.


Protecting Children and Promoting Their Well-Being
Through Excellence in Legal Advocacy

The National Association of Counsel for Children ("NACC") is a nonprofit child advocacy and professional membership association dedicated to representation and protection of children in the legal system. Founded in 1977, the NACC is located in the Kempe Children’s Center on the campus of the Children’s Hospital in Denver. The organization also maintains a policy representative in Washington, D.C.

The NACC provides training and technical assistance to child advocates and works to improve the child welfare, juvenile justice, and private custody systems. It is a multidisciplinary organization with approximately 2,000 members, representing all fifty states and several foreign countries. Colorado has the second largest number of NACC members in the United States. NACC membership is comprised primarily of attorneys and judges, although the fields of medicine, social work, mental health, education, and law enforcement also are represented.

NACC programs include publications such as The Guardian, a quarterly newsletter; the quarterly Children’s Legal Rights Journal; and yearly children’s law manuals. The NACC also sponsors an annual national children’s law conference each fall, as well as a trial skills training program each spring.

The NACC participates as amicus curiae in cases of national significance to children and maintains a policy agenda, a national child advocate awards program, a student essay program, and a speakers bureau. NACC state and local affiliates promote the mission of the NACC on a local level. The NACC national office in Denver serves the needs of members as a children’s law resource center. Moreover, the organization currently is building its attorney certification program.

Join the NACC! The NACC membership encompasses those who work with children as attorneys, judges, administrators, care providers, physicians, therapists, social workers, teachers, law enforcement officers, and concerned citizens who want to improve their effectiveness while improving the system. Membership is $75 annually and provides access to NACC services and supports NACC causes.

For more information, contact:

Marvin Ventrell, Esq.,
Executive Director
National Association of Counsel for Children
1825 Marion St., Ste. 340
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 864-5320
(888) 828-NACC (6222) (toll-free)
(303) 864-5351 (fax) (e-mail) (website)



For 125 years, the American Humane Association ("Association"), through its children’s services, has advocated for improved services to at-risk children and vulnerable families. Today, its nationwide membership includes child welfare professionals; public and private social services agencies; and medical and mental health professionals, as well as educators, researchers, judicial and law enforcement professionals, and child advocates.

The goal of the Association is to ensure that there are effective and responsive services available in every community for families at risk of abuse and neglect. Services of the Association include the following:

• Program evaluation and consultation services are offered on issues such as workload allocation, accountability systems, staff development, and policy development. The Association provides evaluative services to programs that serve children and families. Such evaluations include agency-wide reviews of current laws, policies and procedures, decision-making practices, services provision, staffing levels and caseload analyses, and staff qualifications and practice competencies.

• Training and professional development opportunities are provided to child welfare professionals, as well as evaluation of staff development activities.

• Advocacy for national standards, improved child welfare policies, and federal and state legislation is provided to help build effective programs to serve at-risk families, allocate needed resources, and measure the results of child protection work.

• Resource materials and research findings are published, as well as the journal Protecting Children, and the advocacy newsletter, Child Protection Leader. These materials and publications are intended to serve professionals, child welfare administrators, legislators and policy-makers, and the general public.

• Efforts are made to increase community awareness and responsiveness to the problem of child abuse and neglect.

For more information, contact:

Amy P. Winterfeld, Esq.,
Manager of Children’s Advocacy,
Policy & Development
American Humane Association
Children’s Services
63 Inverness Drive East
Englewood, CO 80112-5117
(303) 792-9900
(303) 792-5333 (fax) (e-mail) (website)



Recognizing that the representation of children is a unique area of law requiring significant expertise, the Colorado General Assembly created the Office of the Child’s Representative ("OCR") in 2000. The OCR is one of the first legislatively created state agencies in the nation singularly devoted to enhancing the representation of children in the court system. The OCR is required by CRS §§ 13-91-101 et seq. to provide legal services through guardians ad litem ("GALs"), legal representatives, and special advocates. The office also is mandated to provide for the administration, oversight, and training of these attorney services. Oversight responsibilities include determining minimum practice standards and caseload size.

One of the major functions of the OCR is to provide support and serve as a centralized legal and professional resource center to the attorneys in the field. To this end, the OCR has developed a website ( that provides extensive information to attorneys, such as training schedules and registration forms, Chief Justice Directives, legislative information, and contract and payment procedures. It also offers a list serve for attorneys and other professionals to exchange information. It has a link to a library of resources containing placement option information, children- and family-related legal articles, and case law updates. The online resource center is geared toward the needs of the Colorado attorneys who represent children, but also is available to all other professionals who serve the needs of children.

The OCR also provides ongoing continuing legal education training to rural and Front Range attorneys at a nominal cost. All related professionals are welcome to participate. The OCR is committed to ensuring that Colorado’s children—the most vulnerable and under-represented population in the courts—receive the best legal services available.

For more information, contact:

Theresa Spahn, Esq.,
Executive Director
Office of the Child’s Representative
1650 Pennsylvania St.
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 860-1517
(303) 860-1735 (fax) (e-mail) (website)



The CBA Juvenile Law Section is an organization available to all lawyers who come in contact with matters affecting young people. Although a major focus concerns practice under the Children’s Code, the Juvenile Law Section also is concerned with relevant aspects of education law and disability law. The Juvenile Law Section emphasizes projects to improve the professional knowledge and skill of lawyers working in the juvenile field, including legal education seminars and a new quarterly Juvenile Law column in The Colorado Lawyer (to start January 2003). Contributors are welcome for purposes of proposing, writing, and proofreading articles for this Juvenile Law column.

The Juvenile Law Section also serves as a resource to the bench and bar for analyses and commentary relative to specific issues that are identified as having broad or systemic ramifications. Furthermore, the Juvenile Law Section analyzes pending legislation in the Colorado legislature and makes legislative recommendations to the CBA Board of Governors.

For more information, contact:

Bradley Bittan, Esq.,
Chair, CBA Juvenile Law Section
3515 S. Tamarac Dr., Ste. 200
Denver, CO 80237
(303) 283-1791
(303) 689-9627 (fax) (e-mail)


Tessa Kahn,
CBA Staff Liaison
CBA Juvenile Law Section
1900 Grant St., Ste. 900
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 860-1115
(303) 894-0821 (fax) (e-mail)



The Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center ("Children’s Law Center"), formerly the Children’s Legal Clinic, began in 1981 as one of three models of a federally funded, national demonstration project to analyze alternative methods of legal representation for abused and neglected children. After three years of careful study, National Evaluation and Research Associates rated the Children’s Law Center as providing the highest quality of legal representation. Following this finding, Shari F. Shink, founder and executive director, established the Children’s Law Center as an independent organization.

The Children’s Law Center’s mission is protecting children and promoting healthy families. It is founded on the principles that every child has a right to be safe from abuse and neglect, to live in a permanent family, to receive individualized and sensitive intervention, and to have zealous advocates to enforce these rights.

The Children’s Law Center is unique in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. With manageable caseloads and innovative approaches to problem-solving, nine staff attorneys and more than 500 trained pro bono attorneys serve hundreds of neglected and abused children and respond to approximately 2,500 crisis calls annually. Along with two staff mental health clinicians and a multidisciplinary team of expert consultants, Children’s Law Center attorneys focus on creative solutions to address the individualized needs of each child and ensure outcomes that are timely and meaningful.

The Children’s Law Center offers a host of specially designed programs for both children and adults, including a crisis call hotline, providing immediate access to help and community referrals; the Dandelion Project, a therapeutic gardening program for children and teens intended to rebuild self-esteem and boost confidence; a unique year-long Child Advocacy Clinical Program at the University of Denver College of Law; the Rocky Mountain Child Advocacy Institute, an annual trial skills training program for attorneys nationwide; a statewide Foster Parent Training and Empowerment Program; a Pro Bono Attorney Program, serving children in domestic violence cases; legislative advocacy; and the distribution of numerous publications.

Law firms providing significant pro bono support through the Children’s Law Center include: Holme Roberts & Owen LLP; Holland & Hart LLP; Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP; Brownstein Hyatt & Farber PC; Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP; and Arnold & Porter.

Attorneys are invited to use the resources of the Children’s Law Center to serve their clients, as well as contribute their time and talent in support of the Children’s Law Center’s efforts.

For more information, contact:

Shari F. Shink, Esq.,
Founder and Executive Director
Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center
1325 S. Colorado Blvd., Ste. 308
Denver, CO 80222
(303) 692-1165
(303) 302-2890 (fax) (e-mail) (website)



The Colorado Lawyers Committee is a bipartisan consortium of thirty-eight Denver area law firms dedicated to improving opportunities for children, the poor, and other disadvantaged communities through advocacy, negotiation, and litigation. The lawyers who donate their time through the Colorado Lawyers Committee focus primarily on systemic changes, rather than representation of individuals. Since it was founded twenty-three years ago, the Lawyers Committee has undertaken a number of projects to increase educational opportunities and improve conditions for children. For example, during 2000, Lawyers Committee volunteers helped to achieve the passage of a $190 million capital construction bill to improve deteriorating public school facilities. Recently, the Colorado Lawyers Committee Medicaid Task Force successfully negotiated a $17.2 million settlement on behalf of 44,000 families who were inadvertently denied Medicaid benefits from July 1997 to August 2000. For many years during the 1990s, Lawyers Committee volunteers also were actively involved in the reform of Colorado’s foster care system.

For more information, contact:

Constance C. Talmage, Esq.,
Executive Director
Colorado Lawyers Committee
370 17th St., Suite 4800
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 634-4371
(303) 634-4400 (fax) (e-mail)


The Kempe Children’s Center ("Center") is a living legacy to a brilliant researcher, teacher, and prominent pediatrician who became one of America’s foremost pioneers in child abuse and neglect: Dr. C. Henry Kempe. The Center was founded in 1972 and celebrates thirty years of pioneering work, providing clinical treatment, training, research, education, and program development to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.

Located in Denver, the Kempe Children’s Center has built its reputation as a national and international leader. It has created model programs for national replication; provided quality clinical assessment of and treatment for abused children and their families; developed curricula to train professionals; trained and consulted with other professionals; and conducted research studies that assist in program development and public policymaking.

For more information, contact:

Kempe Children’s Center
1825 Marion St.
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 864-5252
(303) 864-5302 (fax) (e-mail) (website)

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