The Family Services Division works on behalf of the District’s most vulnerable citizens: abused and neglected children; domestic violence victims; incapacitated adults who are being abused or who are self-neglecting and mentally ill adults in need of emergency psychiatric hospitalization and/or the appointment of a guardian.
With respect to abused and neglected children, attorneys in the Division’s Child Protection Sections represent the Child and Family Services Agency (CSFA) in all abuse and neglect cases in Family Court. As for domestic victims, attorneys in the Division’s Domestic Violence Section represent individual victims seeking civil protection orders against their abusers and prosecute violations when orders are violated. One attorney in the Domestic Violence Section also represents Adult Protection Services (APS), part of the Department of Human Services, in Probate Court in obtaining guardians and conservators for incapacitated adults who are being abused, exploited, neglected, or who are self-neglecting. The Division’s Mental Health Section represents the Department of Mental Health (DMH) in court proceedings to ensure that individuals who are likely to injure themselves or others as a result of mental illness, and individuals who have been found not guilty in a criminal proceeding by reason of insanity, are receiving mental health treatment.
The attorneys in the Family Services Division, who litigate cases on behalf of a client agency in Family Court, have a different role than the attorneys in an agency’s Office of General Counsel. General Counsel attorneys handle an agency’s internal matters, such as legal issues relating to contracts, personnel decisions, and legislation. By contract, attorneys in the Family Services Division are an agency’s in-court lawyers in Family Court Matters.
The Division is made up of approximately 44 attorneys and 9 paraprofessional staff.