Is a child’s attorney allowed to attend a CFT meeting?
Background: California’s Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) requires every child, youth, and non-minor dependent (NMD) in foster care to have a Child and Family Team (CFT). The purpose of CFTs is to engage the young person and their family with child welfare agencies, health care agencies, and other professionals to better develop the individual case plans and identify supports and services to meet the needs of the foster youth and their family.
A: Some teenagers or young adults in foster care rely on their attorney as their advocate. There are important instances where a child’s attorney should attend CFT meetings.
For example, the child’s attorney should attend CFT meetings if the attorney is identified as a natural support to the young person in foster care and/or their family. In such instances, the attorney should participate in the CFT meetings as a supportive adult, rather than as a legal representative with intentions related to the court process or any legal proceedings.
Note: Preferences of the young person in foster care and his or her family should be closely considered with regard to the composition of the Child and Family Team.