Seals of the Court of Appeals and Superior Court
District of Columbia Courts

Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect

General Information


The Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect (CCAN) Office is a branch of the Family Court of the District of Columbia Superior Court. The CCAN Office maintains a list of qualified attorneys who are available for appointment in child abuse and neglect cases. The office also processes the orders appointing counsel in both new and ongoing cases. The CCAN Office provides initial and ongoing training to attorneys who represent children, parents, and caretakers in child abuse and neglect cases. The Office screens adult parties for financial eligibility for court appointed attorneys and assists attorneys who have legal and social work questions regarding child abuse and neglect cases.

The CCAN Office staff consists of a Branch Chief, who is an attorney, a social worker, and two deputy clerks. The clerical staff handles case assignment processing, financial eligibility, and inquiries. The Branch Chief and social worker provide training and support to court appointed attorneys in child abuse and neglect cases. In addition, the CCAN Office distributes a newsletter with legal, training, and social work updates for attorneys.

The Superior Court has adopted Practice Standards which regulate the performance of attorneys practicing in the child abuse and neglect area pursuant to Administrative Order 03-07. Those standards are in the following document:

PDF Name Download PDF
CCAN Attorney Practice Standards Download

In addition to working with the CCAN trained court appointed attorneys, the CCAN Office also works with the Children’s Law Center which has an agreement with the court to provide representation for some children and caretakers in child abuse and neglect cases. Children's Law Center has staff attorneys who act as guardians ad litem. This organization also recruits and trains pro bono attorneys to represent caretakers who are considering seeking adoption, guardianship, or legal custody of a neglected child. Find their website at

CCAN Practitioner

Legal Separation is a court-decreed right to live apart, with the rights and obligations of divorced persons, but without divorce. The parties are still married and cannot remarry. A spouse may petition for a legal separation usually on the same basis as for a divorce, and include requests for child custody, alimony, child support and division of property. For people who want to avoid the supposed stigma of divorce, who hold strong religious objections to divorce or who hope to save a marriage, legal separation is an apparent solution. With more states allowing no-fault divorce, the use of separation agreements and informal separation, legal separation is rarely used.

What do CCAN and Special Education attorneys do?

CCAN attorneys represent indigent parents and act as guardians ad litem for children who are the subject of child abuse and neglect cases in Family Court. Special education attorneys appointed in child abuse and neglect and juvenile delinquency cases represent the education decision makers of the children who are the subjects of these cases.

How do I become a CCAN, GAL, Special Education, PINS, Juvenile Delinquency, Mental Health or Mental Habilitation Panel attorneys eligible for court appointments?

At this time the Family Court is not accepting applications from attorneys interested in becoming eligible for CCAN, GAL, Special Education, PINS, Juvenile Delinquency, Mental Health, or Mental Habilitation appointments in D.C. Family Court. The next regularly scheduled application period will take place in 2019. If the court decides to accept applications for any of the panels before 2019 we will update this information on this website.

Is there any additional information I can read about CCAN attorney practice?

Additional information can be found in the Child Abuse and Neglect Attorney Practice Standards, the Special Education Attorney Panel Practice Standards, the Plan for Furnishing Representation in Neglect Proceedings, and the CJA and CCAN Fee Schedule.

What are the scheduling procedures for Family Court child abuse and neglect cases?

Please see the Procedures for the Scheduling of Child Abuse and Neglect Hearings and the 72 Hour Scheduling Chart.

How do CCAN attorneys sign up for days they will be available to accept court appointments?

CCAN/GAL Panel attorneys sign up online for days they will be available to accept cases. The online signup takes place on the 10th of each month (or next business day if the 10th is a weekend or holiday) between 8:30 and 5:00. Attorneys establish a password protected account on the signup website here.

What is Child Protection Mediation?

Child protection mediation provides an opportunity for parents, attorneys and social workers to meet with a neutral mediator in a confidential setting to discuss alternative methods of resolving a child abuse and neglect case, including a discussion of services for parents and children. The sessions take place in Court Building C, 410 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. See more about Child Protection Mediation

Family Court

Presiding Judge: Hon. Jennifer Di Toro
Deputy Presiding Judge: Hon. Darlene M. Soltys
Director: Avrom D. Sickel, Esq.
Deputy Director: Toni F. Gore

Moultrie Courthouse
500 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Get Directions
Hours of Operation

8:30 am to 5:00 pm

Telephone Numbers

(202) 879-1212

Counsel for Child Abuse and
Neglect (CCAN) Office

(202) 879-1406