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I didn’t have time in this session to explore the important role of lawyers in any detail. However, they have a very important role to play including as a preventative measure. The NYC legal service model is currently being evaluated and early signs are positive. Data collected by the legal agencies themselves suggest that specialised legal services delivered as part of a multidisciplinary team, including lawyers, social workers and parent advocates, is leading to shorter stays in care and higher rates of reunification. These models are able to incorporate the 6 elements of family inclusive practice very nicely, especially because they directly confront and ameliorate power imbalances. The legal system is a crucial part of building family inclusion and we have a lot of opportunities to innovate in this space in Australia, including partnering with legal colleagues.
Jessica Cocks