On September 20th, 2022, Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) introduced the Strengthening Courts for Kids and Families Act, a bill to reauthorize the Court Improvement Program (CIP) and to increase the funding with a $30 million set aside. Representative Carol Miller (R-WV) joined Representative Murphy as the cosponsor for the bipartisan legislation, which CWLA has endorsed.

Data indicates that 71 percent of families with low incomes in the child welfare system experience at least one civil legal issue that would have benefitted from legal representation in court, and 54 percent experience at least two civil legal issues. This bill will increase access to civil legal services for families and increase the CIP funding level by $30 million, a bipartisan proposal that has been included in both the Trump and Biden Administrations’ budget requests.

CIP provides the only federal funds to state courts for improving legal processes in the child welfare system. From the press release: “This investment would help states enhance collaboration between child welfare agencies and the court system to prevent case delays for children, parents, and child welfare agencies, ensure implementation of federal and state child welfare laws, and improve the quality of legal representation available to all parties.”