Fulton County Juvenile Court home to 3 Child Welfare Law Specialist

Fulton County, home to almost 10% of Georgia’s total population, is the only county in the state to have three Juvenile Court Judges who are also certified Child Welfare Law Specialists (CWLS).  All three earned their certifications in 2012.  Judge Cassandra Kirk, Judge Willie J. Lovett, Jr., and Judge Wenona Clark Belton represent state and individual efforts to raise the knowledge bar in our state’s child welfare arena.  Each of these judges sought certification, with some scholarship assistance from the Committee on Justice for Children, but also at their own expense of money and study time.

Becoming a certified CWLS is not easy. In fact, only around 500 individuals have obtained the distinction nationwide, with a mere 40 residing in Georgia.  The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) grants the certification, which is endorsed by both the American Bar Association and the Georgia Bar Association.  The certification requires each prospective attorney to:  pass a difficult exam; possess a minimum three years experience practicing law, with 30% of the last three years involved in child welfare law; obtain 36 CLE hours in the past three years on child welfare law; and provide a writing sample which evinces the individual’s legal analysis on child welfare issues. 

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