By 2017 Legal College Co-Chairs
Lead Attorney, Sacramento DCSS
Marissa de Almeida
Chief Attorney, Stanislaus DCSS
We can all agree that if there is one thing that will never stop – it is change. Change occurs whether we want it to or not. Sometimes we are the impetus for the change and other times change occurs due to things outside of our control. In any event, change is inevitable and to do our jobs well we must all embrace it. The CSDA Legal College is a vital and essential tool to assist both LCSA attorney and non-attorney staff with learning about and embracing changes in the law, in policies, and simply changing times.
The law is ever changing. One of the benefits, and yes there are more than one, of attending the Legal College is that it affords child support staff an opportunity to stay abreast of the constant changes in the law. Not just child support law but the other areas of law that we encounter as we perform our responsibilities, such as, bankruptcy, probate, civil procedure, etc. It is our legal and ethical responsibility to stay updated and knowledgeable on the law so that we may apply this knowledge as we carry out our roles in the LCSA. It is a commitment we’ve made to our directors, colleagues, courts and the families we serve. The Legal College augments our education. They say knowledge is power and so the more we know the better we can do. We all have a common goal – making sure parents provide the financial support their children need. At the Legal College we are given the opportunity to share our knowledge as well as our challenges and successes in reaching our goal. We are presented with opportunities to learn from one another. Another county, child support attorney or child support officer may have an innovative way of collecting from parents that we did not consider or even knew existed. We can learn ways to streamline our processes making us more effective in the collection of child support. Learning from the best throughout the State allows everyone to take this new found knowledge and implement it at their office or improve upon a process already in effect.
The benefit of the education offered at the Legal College does not apply only to new attorneys and new child support workers. The benefits also extend to those who are more seasoned. We are never too young or too old to learn and keep learning. With this in mind, the Legal College offers a wide variety of classes. For the 2017 College we will offer classes ranging from UIFSA/Hague, Special Enforcement, Unusual Parentage Issues to Cultural Competency/Bias and State Hearings, to name a few. Our colleagues who work so diligently in preparing and presenting at Legal College are dedicated to presenting curriculum that will help attendees analyze and adapt to the constant changes in the child support world.
Moreover, we cannot forget that we are operating under a statewide system. What better way to supplement this system than by a gathering of minds from throughout the state? Legal College is one of the best forums for encouraging and offering networking opportunities with colleagues throughout the State. One of the best resources we can have is a colleague in the field. At Legal College attendees meet contacts who may be experts in specific areas of law or child support processes and who we can reach out to for valuable assistance. We also meet our associates from other counties where discussions on how to improve collaboration and sharing of resources can occur.
Practically speaking, the Legal College allows attorneys to obtain the MCLE credits they need in order to keep their bar license in good standing. But this benefit is almost the one of least consequence. An event like Legal College can revitalize staff; it can be the breath of fresh air that ensures we avoid the risk of becoming stagnant and complacent in our jobs. Often attendees leave the college feeling re-charged and re-energized, excited about the expansion of knowledge and new information they’ve received. Legal College can be a confidence builder for attorneys and caseworkers whether seasoned or new. With additional knowledge we are led to feel more secure in how we perform our jobs at every level. Increasing education and program knowledge is an investment that guarantees high returns for the families we serve. Please come join us October 16-19, 2017, in beautiful Monterey! We are looking forward to bringing you an innovative and interactive educational experience for all child support employees.