The Respondent Parents’ Counsel program provides legal representation for indigent parents in dependency and neglect proceedings. Respondent parents’ counsel play a critical role in achieving positive outcomes for children involved in these proceedings by protecting the legal rights of parents, presenting balanced information to courts and promoting the preservation of family relationships.
In May 2014, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law Senate Bill 14-203, sponsored by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Jenise May, establishing the ORPC, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The Respondent Parents’ Counsel Work Group, previously established by the State Court Administrator’s Office to issue recommendations to improve respondent parent representation, was then charged with recommending an operational structure for the Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel. The work group determined formation of a stand-alone office focused solely on parent representation was the most appropriate option to carry out the intent of the legislation. Additionally, the group recommended the establishment of a governing commission to oversee the office. Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 15-1149 to establish the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel Governing Commission.
Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice has appointed nine people to serve on the governing commission of the new Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC).
Four members will serve a two-year term ending June 30, 2017, while five will serve a four-year term ending June 30, 2019. Following the end of the two-year term, all members will serve staggered four-year terms.