Fiscal returns on improved representation of children in dependency court: The state of the evidence


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This article explores the evidence that the new standards may yield benefits that outweigh the fiscal costs of implementing the Model Act, and those of competing models of representation. It first examines the few extant studies that shed light on whether the new standards might achieve the stated aims of the child welfare system-especially with regard to timely permanency-better than competing models of representation. One particular study, which evaluated the outcomes and fiscal impact of legal representation akin to that of the Model Act, is examined in greater depth. While research so far is promising that enhanced representation yields fiscal returns, the evidence remains very limited. In the final section, the authors provide suggestions for future study to develop our understanding of the broader impact of the Model Act on case outcomes, which in turn affects the bottom line of agencies, courts, and broader society.

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