PLATINUM2024

National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC)

Promoting Excellence, Building Community, Advancing Justice

aka NACC   |   Denver, CO   |  www.NACCchildlaw.org

Mission

NACC advances children’s and parents’ rights by supporting a diverse, inclusive community of child welfare lawyers to provide zealous legal representation and by advocating for equitable, anti-racist solutions co-designed by people with lived experience.

Ruling year info

1978

Executive Director

Ms. Kim Dvorchak

Main address

899 N. Logan Street Suite 208

Denver, CO 80203 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

84-0743810

NTEE code info

Children's Rights (R28)

Legal Services (I80)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Millions of children are involved in the child welfare system, including children who have been separated from their parent or guardian, children at risk of separation, and children and youth who are also involved in the juvenile justice system. Too many children involved in these systems face barriers to justice in the courts and are deeply impacted by poor outcomes in the foster care system. These negative court experiences and outcomes are often exacerbated by racial and economic inequality that affects children’s opportunities for education, healthcare, housing, and other critical supports. Children need lawyers who are well-trained to ensure each child’s voice is heard, their rights are met, and that outcomes are achieved that keep them with their parents and on a path toward success. The National Association of Counsel for Children helps lawyers do this important work and advances public policies that protect children’s rights, including the right to counsel.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Policy Advocacy

NACC's Policy Advocacy Program provides a national voice on children’s legal advocacy supported by thousands of practitioners across the country. Despite children’s need for legal advocates, in many states, children have no attorney to represent them in court, or their attorney has very high caseloads for very low pay. NACC launched the Counsel for Kids campaign to ensure children in foster care are seen, heard, and represented. NACC also collaborates with individuals with lived experience in foster care to co-design policies, positions, assessments, and amicus briefs that advance NACC's policy agenda. NACC deploys digital and traditional communications that center the voices of people with lived experience; elevate NACC's mission, policy positions, and expertise; emphasize equity and justice; and reach practitioners, youth, parents, families, policymakers, and the child welfare community.

Population(s) Served

NACC's Legal Training Program provides high-quality legal trainings to attorneys who represent children, parents, and child welfare agencies. Often funded through the federal Court Improvement Project, NACC partners with local court staff to provide customized training and curriculum development for attorneys across the country. Child law attorneys and caseworkers must navigate various federal, state, and local laws. These laws differ in both theory and practice from one jurisdiction to the next, making child welfare one of the most challenging specialties in our legal system. In order to ensure that attorneys and caseworkers have the tools they need to operate in such complex legal systems, the NACC provides a number of training programs. Our curricula are designed by nationally recognized experts in child welfare and and our trainers use a variety of teaching methods. We also design custom training programs to meet specific needs of a particular jurisdiction.

Population(s) Served

NACC's Certification Program is designed to improve the delivery of legal services to children and families and thereby achieve the safety, permanence, and well-being of children. NACC is the only organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys as Child Welfare Law Specialists. The NACC Certification Program was created through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau, and is available to attorneys serving in the role of Child’s Attorney, Parent’s Attorney, or Agency Attorney. NACC’s Certification Program has also been endorsed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators. Attorney certification creates a national standard that promotes high quality legal representation through a competency exam, peer/judicial review, and minimum continuing legal education requirements.

Population(s) Served

NACC’s Membership Program is 46 years old and has been an invaluable mechanism for building and fostering the children’s legal community. For a nominal fee, NACC members receive discounts on our training programs, have access to our national listserv, receive the bi-monthly legal publication The Guardian, and stay informed through law and policy updates. NACC recently conducted a membership survey and is building programs to provide increased resources without incurring additional expenses to members.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

In 2022, NACC published the fourth edition of the legal treatise, Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and Agencies in Neglect, Abuse, and Dependency Cases (known as the “Red Book”). The Red Book is the go-to guide for child welfare attorneys across the country, offering in-depth analysis and instruction on a wide variety of topics in child welfare law. The book also serves as a study-guide for attorneys preparing to take the NACC Child Welfare Law Specialist Certification Exam.

Population(s) Served

NACC's National Child Welfare Law Conference is NACC’s signature educational event held every year since our founding in 1977. NACC supports a national community of attorneys, judges, social workers, Guardians ad litems, CASA’s, professors, and policy advocates working to make this country and our courts a better place for children, youth, and families. NACC now offers a two-part conference: an onsite conference event and a separate online zoom event to maximize program accessibility. NACC's goal is to provide attendees a high-quality experience that motivates effective advocacy for children and families.

Population(s) Served

In 2020 NACC hired a youth coordinator and launched a national youth advisory board. Now self-named the National Advisory Council on Children's Legal Representation, this group of young professionals, advocates, and leaders have navigated the child welfare system and contribute their expertise to advancing NACC’s mission and core strategies. Advisory Council members receive advocacy training and professional development opportunities, in addition to financial compensation for time and travel, and one-on-one professional mentoring. NACC staff youth coordinator, now promoted to Youth Engagement Manager, supports the Advisory Council and manages NACC's policy and training youth engagement initiatives.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of legal briefs written

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Policy Advocacy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

NACC's amicus curiae program impacts critical issues in the law for children and families. NACC prepares briefs, partners with pro bono counsel, or joins briefs prepared by other organizations.

Number of policy guidelines or proposals developed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Policy Advocacy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

NACC drafts policy recommendations for law reform and practice improvement and adopts statements and positions on important issues in child welfare law.

Number of people on the organization's email list

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Membership

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

NACC has expanded its reach exponentially as a result of the growth of our programs, staff, and member engagement.

Number of training events conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Legal Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

NACC provides monthly webinars, an online training series, an annual national conference, and speaks at numerous other meetings and events. These numbers reflect NACC-led events.

Number of convenings hosted by the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Membership

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

NACC convened Children's Law Offices, National Advisory Council on Children's Legal Representation (youth board), State Coordinators, Child Welfare Law Career Fair, and the Counsel for Kids Convening.

Number of conferences held

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

National Child Welfare Law Conference

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

NACC annually hosts a National Child Welfare Law Conference, now held as two events: an onsite hotel conference and an online zoom conference.

Number of conference attendees

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

National Child Welfare Law Conference

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

NACC's annual conference continues to grow. In 2020 NACC's reach expanded due to our virtual online platform. In 2021 and beyond NACC holds a dual conference event: onsite and online.

Number of training programs created

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Legal Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

NACC designed six custom trainings tailored to child welfare law, in addition to the organization's regular online and in-person trainings.

Total number of organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Membership

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

NACC offers individual memberships to attorneys and other multidisciplinary professionals in the child welfare field. NACC relaunched organizational memberships in 2020.

Total number of new organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Membership

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

NACC launched an organizational membership program in 2020, which continues to grow.

Number of staff members certified in subject area training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Attorney Certification

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

NACC staff who are certified Child Welfare Law Specialists (CWLS).

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The National Association of Counsel for Children is dedicated to advancing the rights, well-being, and opportunities of children and families impacted by the child welfare system through high-quality legal representation.

Every year in the United States, there are approximately 670,000 children living in foster care. Every year more children enter foster care than exit, and the number of children waiting to be adopted is higher than the number of children who were reunified with a parent or guardian. NACC believes these numbers can be reduced and reversed by providing children and parents with high-quality lawyers who will zealously advocate in the courts for the services and outcomes children and families need.

NACC adopted a 2019-2023 Strategic Plan in August 2018. The driving focus of NACC’s current strategic plan is to accelerate the growth, experience, diversity, and leadership of a national community of children’s lawyers and other child welfare legal professionals to Promote Excellence, Build Community, and Advance Justice. NACC provides programs and resources that improve the quality of representation for children, parents, and agencies; and we advocate for policies that advance children’s rights, including the right to counsel; and build community among practitioners while helping attract and retain talent in the children’s legal advocacy profession.

Through our work to improve high-quality legal representation:
1. The child welfare court system is more likely to be fair and equitable, and protect children’s well-being, rights, and opportunities
2. Children can have equitable access to services and supports
3. Children can be in loving, permanent families and exit the child welfare system as appropriate when their needs have been met
4. Children and youth can be supported in ways that keep them from “crossing over” to juvenile and criminal justice systems

NACC's three core strategies for advancing justice for children and families in the child welfare system are (1) Promoting Excellence in Legal Representation through Training & Certification; (2) Community Building among practitioners through Membership and Convenings; and (3) Advancing Justice for Children and Families through Policy Advocacy.

NACC's Training and Certification programs offer practitioners high-quality legal education, the Child Welfare Law and Practice Guide, and Child Welfare Law Specialist (CWLS) Certification. Child law attorneys must navigate various federal, state, and local laws, making child welfare one of the most challenging specialties in our legal system. NACC provides a number of training programs designed by nationally recognized experts as well as custom training programs to meet the specific needs of a particular jurisdiction. NACC also provides a specialty certification in Child Welfare. NACC is the only organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys as Child Welfare Law Specialists. NACC’s Certification Program has also been endorsed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators.

NACC's Community Building programs support the development and expansion of the field of children's legal advocacy by hosting conferences, networking opportunities, membership, and an open forum for discussion. NACC’s Membership Program is 45 years old and has been an invaluable mechanism for building and fostering the children’s legal community. NACC members receive discounts on our training programs, have access to our national listserv, monthly webinars, receive the quarterly legal publication The Guardian, and stay informed through law and policy updates. NACC's member community also engages in policy advocacy at the local level.

NACC's Policy Advocacy Programs include publishing policy papers, amicus briefs, and taking positions aimed at improving child welfare systems in the United States. NACC provides a national voice on children’s legal advocacy supported by thousands of practitioners across the country. Despite children’s need for legal advocates, in many states, children have no attorney to represent them in court, or their attorney has very high caseloads for very low pay. NACC launched the Counsel for Kids campaign to ensure all children in foster care are seen, heard, and represented. NACC offers a number of resources to assist our members in impacting the lives of children. NACC also actively engages in appellate litigation as amicus curiae.

The National Association of Counsel for Children produces high-quality products and programs through a dedicated staff, a large network of consultants, and an active and expert Board of Directors. NACC is led by Executive Director Kim Dvorchak who came to NACC in May of 2017 with a new vision to take the organization in a bold direction to increase our impact as a national children's legal advocacy organization.

The NACC staff have grown from five to fourteen under Ms. Dvorchak's leadership due to a more than tripling of revenue in five years. But most importantly, the staff has become more diverse and includes three staff with personal experience in foster care. NACC's core operations team is headquartered in Denver, CO, and the balance of our team works remotely across the country. NACC staff include expertise in the legal representation of children and parents, the development of training and educational programs, the development and implementation of public policy, youth engagement and engaging individuals with lived experience, communications, program development, and project planning.

NACC leads a combination of earned income programs and grant projects. NACC is highly respected in the field and leverages the expertise of its membership and organizational partnerships to achieve our goals.

In 2023 the National Association of Counsel for Children celebrated its 46th year as a nonprofit children’s legal advocacy organization.

NACC has made significant progress in accomplishing our 2019-2023 Strategic Plan. NACC has achieved growth in every program area, impacted the state of the law through our advocacy and amicus briefs, and has been a strong and effective voice for racial equity and constituent engagement in the child welfare field.

In 2019, NACC established the framework for this growth, developing a State Coordinator program to support practitioners at the local level, relaunching our Children's Law Office Project to support the leaders of specialized law offices for children, building online learning opportunities, and reinvigorating our policy advocacy agenda and engagements.

In 2020 NACC helped the legal community serve children and families through crisis and uncertainty by mobilizing a COVID-19 Resource Hub, policy statements, tip sheets, and virtual learning. NACC served as a critical hub for information, strategizing, and learning through this challenging time for families and for the courts. Also in 2020, NACC launched a youth board, now called the National Advisory Council on Children's Legal Representation. Every member of the Advisory Council has lived expertise in foster care and other educational and professional experiences. NACC incorporates youth voice across every program area and Board of Directors.

In 2021, NACC launched Counsel for Kids, a national campaign to ensure the right to counsel for youth in the child welfare system, developed revised Recommendations on Child Representation in Abuse and Neglect Cases, and began the development of the 4th Edition of Child Welfare Law and Practice. Also in 2021 NACC launched a Race Equity Hub to provide resources to practitioners and policymakers on how to combat racial disproportionality and inequity in the child welfare system.

NACC’s work has been recognized in several national reports. The first, Children’s Justice: How to Improve Legal Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System, was the culmination of a six-year multi-million dollar study that examined the representation of children. NACC’s membership, certification, Child Welfare Law and Practice publication, and training programs were highlighted as models for improving child representation. The second, an informational memorandum issued by the federal Children’s Bureau on High-Quality Legal Representation in the Child Welfare System also lauded NACC’s certification program and recommended that every attorney practicing child welfare law in America obtain NACC’s Child Welfare Law Specialist Certification. The third,

In 2022 NACC refreshed its 2019-2023 Strategic Plan to make explicit our commitment to race equity and constituent voice. NACC also published the 4th Edition of Child Welfare Law and Practice, also known as "The Red Book."

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC)
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC)

Board of directors
as of 05/21/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. LaShanda Taylor Adams

Children's Law Center of Washington, DC

Term: 2023 - 2025

Mickey Aberman, JD, MBA

James, McElroy, & Diehl, P.A.

Janet Bledsoe, JD, LLM

Assistant Director, Attorney ad Litem Program AR Administrative Office of the Courts

Currey Cook, JD

Director, Out-of-Home Care Project, Lambda Legal

Amy Harfeld, JD

National Policy Director, Children's Advocacy Institute, University of San Diego School of Law

Leslie Starr Heimov, JD, CWLS

Executive Director, Children's Law Center of California

LaShanda Taylor Adams, JD

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor at Law, David A. Clark School of Law

Kathryn Banks, JD

Director Permanency Clinic, St. Louis University School of Law

Dawne Mitchell, JD

Attorney in Charge, Juvenile Rights Practice, The Legal Aid Society

Karen Braxton, JD, CWLS

Judge, 3rd Circuit Court of Michigan

David Smith, JD

Partner, O'Melveny & Myers, LLP

Akin Abioye, Ed.D

Principal, Consulting for the Culture

Yali Lincroft

Vice President, Philanthropic Services, Whittier Trust

LilCristal Dernier

Child Protection Investigator, FL Dept of Children and Families

Priya Konings, JD

Acting Senior Director, Field Management, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

Dan Wilde, JD

Attorney, Steamboat Law LLC

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/1/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/29/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.