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Home Page Official Publication of the State Bar of California December2007
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Changing foster care

A big part of the problem with our foster care system (November) is that in California, unlike other states, the laws do not allow the courts to terminate parental rights in a timely period. I practiced neglect law in Michigan, and in that state, parental rights were terminated if the kids were in the system for a year and the parents were not complying with the plan ordered by the court in order to get their children back. Michigan did not keep giving parents chance upon chance to comply with court orders. Parental rights were terminated routinely, and kids were given a chance to be adopted into loving, stable homes. 

In California, the situation is very different. The courts seem to favor the parents over the children, giving parents numerous chances, while kids linger in foster care. This problem needs to be addressed. I’m confident child advocates in California would support changing the laws to make termination of parental rights easier.

Kathleen Rivera

What protection?

I grow weary of the platitudes by the State Bar of how they wish to protect the clients and public from attorneys without malpractice insurance. If there was real concern, the bar would provide malpractice insurance for all active members and include the premium in the yearly bar dues. With over 150,000 active members, the bar should be able to negotiate a good rate.

The current argument of whether to tell a client and/or the bar whether you do or do not have malpractice insurance is an exercise in futility. I suggest that failing to report insurance status would warrant no more than a letter of caution if the bar had any way of checking.

Too many attorneys are waiting for the State Bar to do something for them rather than something to them. Incorporating a malpractice insurance premium in the bar dues would be a step in the right direction.

Bruce M. Stark
Seal Beach

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