Martin Guggenheim

Family First Act


While Trump Separated Families, One of His Appointees Fought To Keep Them Together. Will Biden Keep Him Around?

Jerry Milner testifies before a House Ways and Means subcommittee about implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act in July of 2018.
In June of 2018, at the height of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy separating thousands of migrant children from their parents, one presidential appointee delivered a very different message to a small group of American parents who had struggled with the foster care system: Jerry Milner, head of the U.S.


This 23-Year-Old’s Newborn Was Taken by the Government. Here’s How She Got Her Back.

At around nine o’clock on a Tuesday morning, two days after giving birth to her second child, Vanessa left a hospital in Queens, New York, and boarded the subway. She was headed to the borough’s courthouse on a mission: to regain custody of her newborn daughter.


New York’s Parent Defender Model Lowers Reliance on Foster Care, Study Finds

New York City’s brand of wrap-around legal representation may not prevent the removal of children from their families. But they might be getting home much faster, and without any risk to their safety.


Parent Defense Movement Warily Celebrates Momentum on Child Welfare Reform

An emboldened parent defense movement convened at a Ritz-Carlton near Washington, D.C., last week, intent to capitalize on recent policy victories and public attention. The goal? To reduce the number of parents they believe are unnecessarily separated from their kids by the child welfare system.


Movement to Stem Family Separation in Child Welfare Gains Momentum

On Thursday, scores of attorneys, judges and other child protection professionals descended on Washington, D.C., for the American Bar Association’s National Conference on Parent Representation. The conference’s name is suggestive of the family justice revolution brewing within child welfare law.


Trump Administration Rule Change Could Unleash Hundreds of Millions in Federal Funds to Defend Rights of Parents, Children in Child Protection Cases

Documentarian Karen Grau has been filming dependency court proceedings for decades. In her experience, there’s one variable that makes it easy to know early in a case if justice will be served.


    Los Angeles Times Series, a Reminder of America’s Decision to Pathologize Child Poverty

    The Los Angeles Times and columnist Steve Lopez launched a critically important series on child poverty Sunday. Replete with both haunting and inspiring photos taken by the talented Francine Orr, readers are introduced to Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, which has the inauspicious designation of “having more homeless students than any other in the district.”


    Influential Parent Defender Clinic in New York Gets a Funding Boost, Plans More Appeals

    A small but influential pro bono family law clinic at New York University has received a gift to expand its efforts to protect parents’ rights, the school announced this week. The gift comes from the prominent New York City real estate developer (and President Trump pal) Elie Hirschfeld.

    Texas Not Moving Fast Enough to Move Foster Children out of Hotels and Offices, Attorneys Say


    Legendary Child Rights Litigator Staffs Up to Storm the Big City

    Marcia Lowry, the crusading child welfare attorney, works out of an office on Hardscrabble Road. She didn’t name this leafy suburban New York lane, but it suits her reputation: The slew of big-ticket settlements she’s secured against large foster care systems made her one of the nation’s most respected, winning and – in some quarters – loathed attorneys for vulnerable youth.