Legal Training for Dependency, Neglect and Abuse Cases

The Administrative Office of the Courts is responsible for preparing attorneys to provide legal representation to dependent, neglected and abused children throughout Kentucky.

The Legal Training for Dependency, Neglect and Abuse Cases Program offers training seminars, educational materials and other resources to meet its goal of producing highly qualified guardians ad litem. The curriculum focuses on Kentucky statutory and case law and the federal requirements set forth in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. 

More than 13,000 Kentucky children are in state custody after being removed from their homes due to dependency, neglect or abuse. Federal and state laws mandate that these children be placed in permanent homes. Guardians ad litem play an important role in ensuring that they receive fair and expeditious attention from the judicial system and are placed in appropriate homes in a timely manner. 

In 2020, the Supreme Court amended its Family Court Rules of Procedure and Practice to include Kentucky’s first comprehensive set of statewide rules and standards governing court-appointed attorneys in child welfare cases. One of the requirements is completion of the AOC’s DNA training.

2021 Training Seminars

The Department of Family & Juvenile Services is pleased to announce the 2021 training schedule. For the first time, the Legal Training for Dependency, Neglect and Abuse Cases will be available online. The seminars are free and offer eight hours of continuing legal education credits.   

The 2021 curriculum will provide an overview of Kentucky statutory and case law applicable to DNA and termination of parental rights cases. It will also cover federal law that requires reasonable efforts to keep families together and provide children with safe and permanent homes. There will also be sessions on appellate and evidentiary issues related to DNA and TPR cases and information on trauma and child development. 

The online curriculum will be offered in two half-day tracks:

Track 1 
  • Reasonable Efforts 
  • Dependency, Neglect and Abuse 
  • Termination of Parental Rights 
  • Early Child Development
Track 2 
  • Later Child Development 
  • Evidence 
  • Appeals 
  • Trauma

To register, click on a date under Training Schedule below. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation by email. If you do not receive a confirmation, please email dependencyneglectabuse@kycourts.net to check on your registration.

Prior to each seminar, registrants will be emailed a link to join that training. Materials for the seminar will be located on this page. Some of the sessions may be prerecorded. All sessions will be moderated by AOC staff. Virtual attendance will be monitored and space may be limited.