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Legal Training for Dependency, Neglect and Abuse


The Legal Training for Dependency, Neglect and Abuse Cases Program prepares attorneys throughout the state to provide legal representation to abused and neglected children and their parents. The Administrative Office of the Courts has overseen this training seminar program since 1999. The goal of the program is to produce highly qualified guardians ad litem and court-appointed counsel in DNA cases by offering training sessions, providing educational materials and serving as a comprehensive resource.

More than 9,000 Kentucky children are in state custody because they have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Federal and state laws mandate that these children be placed in permanent homes. Guardians ad litem play an important role in ensuring that children receive fair and expeditious attention from the judicial system and are placed in appropriate homes in a timely manner.

In January of 2020, the Kentucky Supreme Court amended its Family Court Rules of Procedure and Practice. The new FCRPP included Kentucky’s first comprehensive set of statewide rules and standards governing court-appointed attorneys in child welfare cases, one of which requires completion of AOC’s training.

Training Seminars

AOC’s Department of Family and Juvenile Services is accepting registrants for Legal Training for Dependency, Neglect and Abuse cases trainings. For the first time, these trainings will be available online. The free online DNA training curriculum gives attorneys an overview of Kentucky statutory and case law applicable to DNA cases and cases for termination of parental rights, with a focus on the federal law that requires reasonable efforts to keep families together and provide children with safe and permanent homes. The new curriculum also includes training on appellate and evidentiary issues related to DNA and TPR cases, as well as information on trauma and child development. The online curriculum will be offered in two half-day tracks that will cover the following topics:

Track 1

  • Reasonable Efforts
  • Dependency, Neglect and Abuse
  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Early Child Development

Track 2

  • Later Child Development
  • Evidence
  • Appeals
  • Trauma

The program has been accredited for eight hours of continuing legal education credits.

To register for a training, click on a date and location under Training Schedule on this page. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation by email. Please contact us at if you do not receive a confirmation email. You will receive a link to join the training in another email that will be sent prior to each date. Materials for the training are located on this page. Some of the sessions may be pre-recorded. All sessions will be moderated by AOC staff. Virtual attendance will be monitored and space may be limited.

Please send any questions to