Respondent Parents’ Counsel (RPC) play a critical role in defending the right to parent by providing accurate and balanced information to the courts in dependency and neglect proceedings. In 2014, the Colorado State Court Administrator commissioned a work group to make recommendations on how to support and enhance the quality of parent representation in Colorado.

As the work group developed its recommendations, Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation establishing the Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC) to take effect on January 1, 2016.

Governor Hickenlooper advanced the ORPC by signing HB 15-1149 into law, thereby establishing the RPC Governing Commission and transferring state paid RPC appointments to ORPC beginning July 1, 2016. The bill expressed the Director’s position and qualifications and moved state appropriation for court-appointed RPC from the State Court Administrator’s Office to the ORPC. In line with the work group’s recommendations, the Colorado Supreme Court issued Chief Justice Directive 16-02 to guide the structure, appointment, payment, and training of RPC.

Today, under the guidance of this directive and the RPC governing commission, ORPC has become a national model for its interdisciplinary approach to supporting parents facing separation from their children by the government.

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