Making Justice RealThe Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
Recently Released D.C. Bar Family Law Task Force Report Makes Key Recommendations to Improve Access to Justice
Last month, the D.C. Bar Family Law Task Force issued its final report. Chief among the Task Force’s recommendations are expanding the reach of the Family Court Self Help Center by establishing a second office near the Paternity and Support Branch courtrooms, implementing the Domestic Relations Comprehensive Case Management and Scheduling Plan, permitting limited scope representation in Family Court, expanding the Court Facilitator/Attorney Negotiator Program, reinstating the Office of Parenting Coordinator, and expanding the hours of the Supervised Visitation Center. The initial reaction to the report from the D.C. Superior Court has been encouraging; shortly after its issuance, Chief Judge Lee Satterfield indicated that he is open to discussing almost all of the report’s recommendations.
Legal Aid has participated in the Task Force since its inception in 2009, and Stephanie Troyer, a Supervising Attorney in Legal Aid’s Family Unit, has served on the Task Force since 2010. Created by the D.C. Bar Board of Governors to recommend pathways to expand access to justice and improve the administration of justice, the Task Force surveyed attorneys, stakeholder groups, and pro se litigants regarding the Domestic Relations and Paternity and Child Support branches of the D.C. Superior Court. The Task Force also looked into best practices for innovative programs around the country, as well as the success of current models and practices in Superior Court.
Legal Aid will continue to work with the D.C. Bar and other Task Force members to pursue and facilitate the implementation of these critical recommendations.