36 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 39: 1 2019]
the harms to children that follow from deeply flawed state-based interventions
conducted with the professed goal of protecting children from abuse. These harms
include both the immediate trauma of being subjected to ill-conceived and poorly-executed interrogations, and the serious collateral harms to children that arise when
unreliable information procured through bad forensic practices prompts
unwarranted or unsustainable interventions, including the highly disruptive
placement of a child into foster care.145
NACC stressed that ineffective forensic practices used in the investigation of sex abuse are
harmful to children directly and “because they impede the successful prosecution of perpetrators
of abuse.”146 In addition to condemning the methods used to interview the nine-year-old child,
NACC took a strong position supporting parental rights, suggesting that the nine-year-old child at
the center of the case possesses not only the “right to be free from unreasonable seizures but also
[the] right under the Fourteenth Amendment - reciprocal to that of her parents - to be free from
state actions that interfere with the integrity of her family relationships without adequate cause.”147
In addition, NACC has helpfully advanced the claim that the Interstate Compact for the
Placement of Children148 should not be applied to parents living out-of-state who are not accused
of neglect.149 It has also supported the claim that parents in child welfare proceedings have the
constitutional right to counsel.150 NACC supported the Department of the Interior against a
challenge that guidelines promulgated in 2015 by the Department too broadly interpreted the
Indian Child Welfare Act; the challengers claimed that the guidelines violated the rights of off-reservation children with Indian ancestry to be more easily adoptable by non-Indian foster or
adoptive parents.151 It also argued that the one-parent rule in Michigan, which allowed the state to
keep a child from both parents even when only one parent was found to be unfit,152 was
unconstitutional153 and, relatedly, that a parent’s right to custody may not be infringed without a
judicial finding of unfitness.154
145 Id. at 707.
146 Id. at 699.
147 Id. at 711.
148 The ICPC is an agreement incorporated into state statutes governing the transfer of children across state lines for
placement in foster or pre-adoptive homes. The ICPC’s full text is also available at
149 In re Emoni W., 305 Conn. 723 (2012); Adgerson v. District of Columbia, No. 1:11-cv-01772 (D.C. 2011).
150 See In re C.M., 48 A.3d 942 (N.H. 2012) (arguing that providing parents with the right to counsel is necessary to
prevent an erroneous deprivation of a liberty interest. Additionally, errors made in the initial custody deprivation can
affect subsequent decisions throughout the case including the final termination of parental rights decision. Finally,
parents' counsel plays a crucial role in reducing errors in child welfare cases.) See also People v. McBride, 516 N. W.2d
148 (Mich. Ct. App. 1994) (arguing in favor of a parent’s right to counsel in termination of parental rights
151 See A.D. by Carter v. Washburn, 2017 WL 1019685 (D. Ariz. 2017) (supporting Guidelines for State Courts and
Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings against a challenge to their legality).
152 The one-parent rule was announced in In re CR (Mich. App. 2002) and was eventually overruled in In re Sanders,
852 N. W.2d 524, 527 (Mich. 2014).
153 In re Mays, 807 N.W. 2d 307 (Mich. 2012).
154 In re Ethan, Emily, Tarah, and Titus Bratcher (Mich. 2010). See Matter of Custody of C.C.R.S. v. T.A.M., 892
P.2d 246 (Colo. 1995) (En banc) (arguing that trial court properly ordered custody of child to non-parent without a
showing of parental unfitness).