Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) Practice Group
The TPR Practice Group has been active in a number of areas since its inception in 2012. The overarching goal is to provide staff attorneys and private bar attorneys with the training, and therefore confidence, to take these complicated, challenging, but important cases. The focus is to ensure the best representation of parents in these actions and to work with system partners to ensure fair procedures in TPRs throughout the state.
When the group first began, one of the first identified needs was to conduct an update the training program and develop an intensive, two-day TPR-specific training. It has occurred annually. In 2012 and 2013, the training focused primarily on pre-trial issues such as pre-trial discovery, the nuts and bolts of a TPR case, and pre-trial motion practice. In 2014, the training will focus on TPR trials and litigating disposition in TPR cases. Going forward, we intend to alternate the trainings offered to ensure that we are addressing every aspect of the TPR process. (TPR Protocol)
The SPD remains committed to working with the other branches of government on evolving legislation and legislative committees. SPD staff work with the agency's Legislative Liaison to ensure that our clients' voice is heard, not just in the courtroom, but also in the State Capitol. We ask that if anyone hears of any legislative actions that concern TPR clients, please contact one of the practice group coordinators or the SPD's legislative liaison.
We are always looking for areas to coordinate efforts between attorneys representing TPR parents in all geographic areas of Wisconsin and at the trial and appellate levels. If you see an area that would benefit from coordinated statewide levels, don't hesitate to let us know.
We hope that the TPR Practice Group website will be a readily accessible resource for staff attorneys to find and share sample motions, ideas, research, and other resources. Long-term plans for the website could include a transcript bank to allow practitioners to “see” the work of other attorneys in specific areas of litigation. If you have motions, briefs, guides, etc. that you would like to contribute, please send them our way. The only way all of us are going to provide the best representation possible is by working together for our clients.
For further information, please contact Practice Group Coordinator:
TPR cases are the death penalty of the civil world. Therefore, these cases are some of the most important that are handled by SPD and SPD-appointed attorneys. They can also be some of the most legally interesting and rewarding cases. Amanda Skorr, TPR Practice Coordinator for the SPD, is a trial attorney in the Appleton office. She’s been doing public defender work since being sworn-in in 2005, officially joining the agency as a staff attorney in the Oshkosh office in 2006 after a brief foray into private practice. Her law degree was earned at Hamline University School of Law. She also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications-Public Relations from Winona State University in 2001. She’s handled TPR cases in multiple counties, though has always had a caseload that ranges from juvenile mental commitments to homicides. She loves to learn with all the brilliant, hard-working and passionate lawyers throughout the state who make up the public defender’s office and public defender private bar.