"There are still too many attorneys who are routinely appointed to represent children and parents who are 'potted plants,' " Sherwood wrote the commission. Many children's attorneys never meet with their clients to gain firsthand information about their needs, wishes and circumstances. And in the case of many parent lawyers, Sherwood said, "attorneys who have repeatedly been found to have rendered ineffective assistance in the past are still routinely appointed in dependency cases."A reader thinks that I am too harsh on court-appointed lawyer Jim Ritchey. Maybe I should just call him a potted plant!
The newspaper has another article today:
Santa Clara County's two top juvenile court judges are calling for sweeping reforms of the dependency courts far beyond what a statewide commission is considering, contending the current child welfare system designed to protect children from abuse "often does more harm than good."Wow. These are the judges who run the system, and they admit that they are busting up families and doing more harm than good.
Judges Patrick Tondreau and Katherine Lucero wrote to a commission studying problems in the state's dependency courts to highlight their firsthand view that removing children from their homes following allegations of abuse and neglect "is not the silver bullet we may have led ourselves to believe." Tondreau is the county's presiding juvenile court judge; Lucero, the supervising dependency court judge. ...
The judges wrote that breaking up families too often results in children adrift in foster homes, separated from siblings and failing at basic literacy.