What We Do
The Office of the Child’s Representative (OCR) is the state agency mandated to provide competent and effective best interests legal representation to children involved in the Colorado court system. OCR was created by the General Assembly in 2000 to improve representation for Colorado’s most vulnerable children by establishing minimum practice standards and providing litigation support, accessible high-quality statewide training, and oversight of the practice. The OCR oversees attorneys that provide legal representation as guardians ad litem (GAL), counsel for children in dependency and neglect proceedings, and child legal representatives (CLR).
OCR attorneys represent the interests of children in dependency and neglect (child abuse), delinquency, domestic relations, adoption, truancy, probate, mental health, and paternity cases. The attorney’s responsibilities are dependent upon the case type in which the attorney is appointed and the role the attorney serves in that case. An attorney appointed as GAL and CLR must independently investigate, make recommendations that are in the best interests of the child, and advocate on that child’s behalf. An attorney appointed as counsel for children in dependency and neglect proceedings provides client-directed representation in contempt, privilege, and other matters as set forth in the court’s appointment order. OCR trains all of its attorneys on the law, social science research, child development, mental health and education issues, and best practices relating to issues impacting children involved in court proceedings.
The Office of the Child’s Representative (OCR) was created under H.B. 00-1371 in the 58th General Assembly legislative session. The purpose of the statute authorizing the OCR, Colorado Revised Statute C.R.S. § 13-91-101 et seq, is to empower Colorado’s most vulnerable children with uniform, high-quality counsel.
In July 2001, the OCR became responsible for enhancing the legal representation of children, establishing fair and realistic rates of compensation for attorney services, setting minimum practice and training standards, and working collaboratively with the state CASA to develop local CASA programs in each Judicial District. In 2010, the General Assembly made the OCR a permanent state agency.
The mission of the Office of the Child’s Representative (OCR) is to provide competent and effective legal representation to Colorado’s children involved in the court system because they have been abused and neglected, impacted by high conflict parenting time disputes, or charged with delinquent acts and without a parent able to provide relevant information to the court or protect their best interests during the proceedings. As a state agency, the OCR is accountable to the State of Colorado to achieve this mission in the most cost-efficient manner without compromising the integrity of services or the safety and well-being of children. The OCR is committed to ensuring that children represented by its contract attorneys, Colorado’s most vulnerable and marginalized population in the courts, receive the best legal services available to protect and promote their safety and well-being and to have their voice heard throughout all aspects of a case.