We’re Colorado’s Office of
Respondent Parents’ Counsel
Established in 2016, the Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC) is an independent state agency that supports Colorado parents in the fight to preserve families, their dignity, and the constitutional right to parent in dependency and neglect cases. We recruit and train attorneys statewide, advocate for family centered policies, and promote equity and transparency in the system.
As a result of our work, more Colorado families become reunified and remain stronger together.
What We Do
ORPC exists to protect the fundamental right to parent by providing effective legal advocates for indigent parents in child welfare proceedings. This right is protected when a parent has a dedicated advocate knowledgeable about child welfare laws and willing to hold the state to its burden. The office’s duties are to provide accountability, training, and resources, develop practice standards, and advocate for systemic and legislative changes in Colorado.
ORPC was established as an independent state agency by the Colorado General Assembly in 2016. Our activities are governed by Chief Justice Directive 16-02 which outlines guidelines for RPC appointments, expectations for court proceedings, and standards of practice for attorneys representing parents in dependency and neglect cases.
Our RPC Contracting Process
Colorado attorneys who want to practice as a Respondent Parents’ Counsel (RPC) apply to become a contractor with ORPC. This includes filling out a detailed application with essay questions, submitting a resume and writing sample, and attending an interview.
RPCs are public interest lawyers from varied backgrounds with interest in and dedication to protecting the fundamental right to parent regardless of race, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and income.
Once approved by ORPC, the RPC’s information is provided to the courts, and they are eligible for appointments.
As part of their contract, RPCs are required to complete a minimum of four hours of ORPC sponsored Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits each fiscal year.
Our values-based trainings provides opportunities for contractors and other stakeholders to participate in legal skills-building, interdisciplinary learning, anti-racist education, and more. Most trainings, webinars and workshops are offered free of charge to contractors and are open to the general public.
ORPC regularly observes RPC in court and reviews them for compliance with our established practice, billing, and agency standards. We identify training needs based on contractor and stakeholder feedback, as well as through our own review and observation process.
Concerns about an individual RPC trigger an evaluation by ORPC. As a result, the RPC may be required to attend additional trainings, take corrective actions, or be terminated.
RPCs who uphold ORPC’s rigorous practice standards can be renewed at the end of their contract period.
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