Friday, December 22, 2006

Time consuming, emotionally draining cases should be compensated accordingly

READERS' FORUM" State ignores law, hurts poor
Hamlet, John. Louisville Courier-Journal, October 13, 2006, pg. A8.

I would like to respond to the Oct. 12 article "Lawyers seeking higher state fees" on behalf of the court-appointed attorneys who represent indigent parents in the dependency, abuse and neglect cases in Jefferson County.

The attorneys in these cases are not seeking "higher" fees.

They are seeking the fees they are due in these difficult, time-consuming and emotionally draining cases.

Recently, several attorneys have had to ask Jefferson Family Court to hold the state Finance and Administration Cabinet in contempt for ignoring the state law under which it has paid attorney fees for years.

This is because the cabinet unilaterally created a contorted "reinterpretation" of the law in order to save money by undercutting services to abused children and their impoverished families.

Funding for legal services for children and the poor in Kentucky is already woefully inadequate.

To undercut services in these cases, at a time when the state system is being investigated for ignoring the rights of the poor in order to "fast-track" adoptions to secure federal funding, compounds the plight of the poor and abused in the commonwealth and jeopardizes the national standing of our Model Family Courts in Jefferson County.

President, Association of Parents' Attorneys of Louisville


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