Vivek Sankaran Calls for a Consistent Statewide Approach to Juvenile Court Hearings

Vivek Sankaran (’01), Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic at The University of Michigan Law School, coauthored an opinion for the Detroit Free Press proposing three key recommendations for juvenile courts that the Michigan Supreme Court should consider, including: adopting specific rules for child protection cases with statewide rules for which hearings will be conducted online, employing “technical bailiffs” to bridge the digital divide, and retaining time-specific calendaring (“Opinion: COVID-19 Changed Michigan Juvenile Court Hearings. They Need Consistent Rules.” May 18). “In child welfare cases, the right mix of in-person and online hearings promotes access to justice, cuts delays, saves costs, and protects both children and parents’ rights more effectively than either approach alone. Now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted, leaving the choice of in-person or virtual hearings up to individual judges, we urge the Michigan Supreme Court to adopt a consistent statewide approach, using the lessons learned from juvenile courts’ experience.”