The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts public defender agency, is seeking two skilled and experienced child welfare attorneys to serve as Staff Counsel II in the Children and Family Law Division’s (CAFL) Trial Panel Support Unit (TPSU). The TPSU provides leadership, oversight, and support to the 800-plus private attorneys who represent CPCS clients in family regulation/child welfare cases and other civil matters involving children, young adults, and their families. Staff Counsel II in the TPSU help CAFL private panel attorneys throughout the state provide high-quality, zealous representation to children, young adults, and indigent parents in all CAFL cases. We fight for equal justice and human dignity by supporting our clients in achieving their legal and life goals.
We zealously advocate for the rights of individuals and promote just public policy to protect the rights of all.
Our Values Courage • Accountability • Respect • Excellence
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MISSION STATEMENT CPCS is committed to protecting the fundamental constitutional and human rights of our assigned clients through zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense, and the fullness of excellent legal representation. We are dedicated to building and maintaining strong professional relationships, while striving to accept, listen to and respect the diverse circumstances of each client, as we dedicate ourselves to meeting their individual needs. It is our CPCS mission to achieve these goals, and in furtherance thereof, we embrace and endorse diversity, equity and inclusion as our core values as we maintain a steadfast commitment to:
(1) Ensure that CPCS management and staff members represent a broad range of human differences and experience;
(2) Provide a work climate that is respectful and supports success; and (3) Promote the dignity and well-being of all staff members. CPCS leadership is responsible for ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion. The ability to achieve these goals with any level of certainty is ultimately the responsibility of each member of the CPCS community.
AGENCY OVERVIEW CPCS is the state agency in Massachusetts responsible for providing an attorney when the state or federal constitution or a state statute requires the appointment of an attorney for a person who cannot afford to retain one. The agency provides representation in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, family regulation, guardianship, mental health, sexually dangerous person, and sex offender registry cases, as well as in appeals and post-conviction and post-judgment proceedings related to those matters. The clients we represent are diverse across every context imaginable and bring many unique cultural dimensions to the matters we address. This reality creates a critical need for CPCS staff to be culturally competent and able to work well with people of different races, ethnicities, genders and/or sexual orientation identities, abilities, and limited English proficiency, among other protected characteristics.
CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW DIVISION OVERVIEW CPCS’s Children and Family Law Division provides attorneys to children and adults in care and protection, termination of parental rights, child requiring assistance, and guardianship-of-a-minor cases, as well as in other civil matters involving children and young adults in which there is a right to an attorney. At the trial level, the vast majority of CAFL clients are represented by private attorneys who are part of CAFL’s trial panel, and most trial-level CAFL cases are heard in the Juvenile Court. CAFL’s client-directed legal advocacy plays a critical role in cases involving families. CAFL private attorneys and staff protect the rights of parents and children to remain together whenever possible and their right to be reunited quickly when children are removed from their homes. Our legal teams provide clients a voice and work to ensure that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and other agencies provide children, young adults, and parents the support and services they need and to which they are entitled under the law. For a parent involved in a C&P case, having a skilled CAFL attorney may mean the difference between the family’s reunification and the termination of parental rights. For a teenager who is the subject of a truancy case, CAFL’s advocacy may secure the special education services that enable the client to succeed in school and avoid being placed in a foster home or in congregate care. For siblings who are at risk of being separated, CAFL’s legal team will fight to ensure that they can stay together.
POSITION OVERVIEW The TPSU Staff Counsel II provides support and oversight to attorneys on CAFL’s private attorney trial panel while working to ensure that they are provided the resources and tools they need to advocate for their clients. Staff Counsel II work from a designated office located in assigned counties determined by unit needs and engage directly with the trial panel attorneys and courts in those counties. Staff Counsel II regularly meet with and observe trial panel attorneys in courtroom practice to provide feedback and support. As a member of the TPSU, the Staff Counsel II also work with other members of the team to promote courageous multidisciplinary representation statewide, support and review the performance of individual attorneys, respond to advice calls from private trial panel members, work with CAFL Resource Attorneys in each county to support the private panel attorneys, and oversee the CAFL mentor program. The Staff Counsel II will also have opportunities to work on various CAFL and interagency initiatives to improve representation and outcomes for our clients. The Staff Counsel II report to the CAFL Trial Panel Director.
- Supporting and overseeing CAFL trial panel attorneys;
- Helping to ensure that panel attorneys comply with the CAFL Performance Standards, including through the use of case-related data;
- Conducting and coordinating performance reviews of CAFL panel attorneys;
- Providing advice and technical assistance to CAFL panel attorneys;
- Analyzing collected data to identify issues attorneys face in their efforts to advance client objectives;
- Coordinating the CAFL Mentoring Program in assigned counties;
- Working with Resource Attorney in assigned counties to help meet the needs of the local bar and facilitate communication with the local courts;
- Evaluating applications for CAFL Certification Trainings;
- Assisting the CAFL Training Unit in presenting programs;
- Preparing and providing information about administrative changes and policies to private attorneys;
- Assisting in developing and updating resource materials for the CPCS/CAFL website;
- Serving as a CAFL representative on various work groups and inter-agency initiatives;
- Assisting in drafting and publicizing CAFL Performance Standards;
- Assisting with developing agency policies regarding qualification, training, and performance requirements, billing processes, and other procedures related to the assignment and compensation of private panel attorneys;
- Creating and managing counsel shortage incentive programs;
- Investigating complaints regarding CAFL trial panel attorneys; and
- Other duties as assigned.
Staff Counsel II in this unit may maintain a small caseload of child welfare trial and/or appellate clients.