Meet Anna Daniszewski, Family Defense Fellow

New to VPLC’s Center for Family Advocacy, Anna Daniszewski will help ensure that parents involved in Virginia’s child welfare system have zealous lawyers fighting for their families.  Daniszewski’s fellowship includes legislative and policy advocacy, providing legal services to parents, and developing trainings, practice protocols, and accountability standards. “Too often, children and parents are needlessly separated […]

Reducing the Trauma of Removal

Why Reunification and Sibling-Placements Are Crucial to the Well-Being of Children in the Child Welfare System By Courtney Squires, Summer Intern for the VPLC Center for Family Advocacy, University of Richmond School of Law To ensure the child welfare system works in the best interest of children, it is important to understand that removal and […]

Virginia Must Do Better By Families 

By Valerie L’Herrou Families are important to all of us, but especially to children. As British pediatrician and psychologist DW Winnicott put it, “There is no such thing as a baby. If you set out to describe a baby, you will find you are describing a baby and someone. A baby cannot exist alone, but […]

2022 Session Update: Week Two

This was a busy week at the General Assembly for VPLC advocates. We often must try and follow bills being heard in two or even three committees that meet at the same time! Please encourage your legislators to do the right thing and publicly praise them when they do. Below, an update on some of our issues […]

2022 Session Update: New Leadership, Same Mission

The 2022 General Assembly is off and running, with 1,938 House and Senate bills filed — and more expected to come. Our advocates are dealing with a lot of change this year: a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, members in the House of Delegates, and committee chairs. But among the change, one thing remains […]

“Family First:” Prioritizing Kinship Foster Care 

In honor of National Kinship Care Month, today’s newsletter comes from VPLC’s Family and Child Welfare Attorney, Valerie L’Herrou with University of Richmond School of Law student Megan Kaleah. Kinship care means the “full-time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives.” Relatives may care for children through informal arrangements with parents, through foster care, […]

2021 Special Session Recap: How VPLC’s Budget Priorities Fared

When the General Assembly convened for a special 2021 session, we urged lawmakers to prioritize Virginians hit hardest by the pandemic with a budget focused on equity. Not all of our priorities were funded, but we will continue to push for these in the state’s next budget. Below, here’s how our recommended budget priorities fared […]

Equitable Rescue & Recovery: VPLC Special Session Budget Priorities

The Virginia General Assembly will convene in Richmond on Monday, August 2 for a special legislative session to allocate more than $4.3 billion in federal relief funding and fill judicial vacancies. The remaining $4.3 billion comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which has provided essential relief to millions of American workers – many of […]

PRESS RELEASE: New anti-poverty laws take effect in Virginia today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2021 The suite of new laws will protect tenants, help families with food assistance, expand health coverage, protect consumers, and more. Richmond, VA – Effective today, several new laws in the Commonwealth will benefit hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians. The new laws include better protections for tenants, expansion of […]

Sexual Assault Can and Does Happen to Everyone: Musings on Serving Male Victims

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we are featuring a blog post from Susheela Varky, Staff Attorney for Domestic and Sexual Violence at the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC). To learn more, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Recently, I held a virtual training for advocates about the types of services VPLC provides to […]

Family Reunification: Why It Matters

Reunification refers to the reunion of children in foster care with their families after parents have shown they can provide a safe and nurturing environment. For children, timely reunification is important: brain scans of elderly adults who were separated from parents as children show structural changes in their brains that have lasted a lifetime. Families […]

To improve foster care in Virginia, work to keep families together

This April, Governor Northam signed bipartisan legislation improving foster care in Virginia, an outcome of work between VPLC, community partners, and legislators in response to problems with the state’s foster care system. Still, there’s more to be done, including before children enter the system and around how we make decisions about removing children from their […]

VPLC’s 2019 Legislative Review

With another General Assembly session behind us and the dust settled after this month’s veto session, here is a review of what occurred during the 2019 legislative session. This year brought several wins—foster care reform, fairer laws for tenants in the wake of a report detailing Virginia’s high eviction rates, and the end of driver’s […]

Keep New Funding for Adult Protective Services

Oppose Budget Amendment Item 334 #1s Item 334 #1s removes $100,000 from the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Adult Protective Services budget. Without this funding, Adult Protective Services (APS) will not be able to increase staffing in its statewide office. The statewide office provides direct support to local department of social services’ APS […]

Supporting Changes to Improve Foster Care for Virginia’s Children

Learn more about the suite of bills being introduced during the 2019 legislative session that intend to improve foster care for Virginia’s children below. SB 1339 (Reeves) | Foster Care Omnibus. Incorporates many of the suggestions of the JLARC report, including support and supervision of local child welfare agencies. HB 1728/SB 1139 (Reid, Favola) |  […]

Working to Improve Laws for Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims

Every year at the Virginia General Assembly, VPLC supports, opposes and/or works to amend legislative initiatives that affect domestic and sexual violence victims. This year is no exception. As we approach Crossover (the point at which each chamber—the House of Delegates and the Senate—must finish hearing its own bills), we’ve highlighted some of the bills […]

HB1692: Hurts Unrepresented Parties in Family Law Cases

 HB1692 (Collins) would make family law litigation more difficult for those without an attorney   Simply put, there are not enough legal aid or pro bono attorneys to meet the need in family law cases in Virginia.   HB1692 relates to family law cases in which some matters may be decided by the Juvenile & […]

Child & Family 2017 GA Update

VPLC has been working on two bills, HB1786 and SB1086, which relate to substance-exposed newborns. The bills modify Virginia Code sections 63.2-1505, 63.2-1506, and 63.2-1509. The main purpose of this legislation is to bring Virginia’s code sections in line with changes made last year to the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). These […]

Support Bills That Will Help Keep Vulnerable Children In School

Long-term suspensions are harmful to children.  Students excluded from school are more likely to experience academic and social deficits, drop out of school, and be at risk for mental health and substance abuse issues. VPLC currently supports HB1534 & HB1536 (Del. Bell) Additionally, we appreciate the following bills SB995 & SB997 (Sen. Stanley); SB1163 (Sen. Reeves); ; as well […]

2017 Child Welfare and Family Law Bills

This session, the main priority is a pair of bills, HB1786, and SB1086, relating to substance-exposed newborns. The bills modify Virginia Code sections 63.2-1505, 63.2-1506, and 63.2-1509. The main purpose of the bill is to bring Virginia’s code sections in line with changes made last year to the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act […]

VPLC supports HB 1344 to make it easier on children presenting evidence in court

Sometimes it can be very difficult for children to testify in court.  For example, a child was willing to testify against his father for (alleged) abuse, but could not do so in open court and instead had a breakdown on the witness stand. It is hard enough for anyone to testify about physical, sexual or […]

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