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Family Defense Practice

The Family Practice Coordinators (formerly TPR Practice Group) is a growing practice area and has been active in training, legislative advocacy, and attorney collaboration since its inception in 2012. The goal of the practice group is to provide staff attorneys and private bar attorneys with the training and resources necessary to fight for families to be reunited as soon as possible. Whether it is through attempting to prevent the removal of children at the CHIPS stage or fighting for parents to preserve their right to parent their children during a termination of parental rights (TPR) case, our staff and private bar attorneys work to prevent the devastating effects of family separation.  The focus of the Family Defense Practice Group is to ensure the best representation of parents in these actions and to work with system partners to ensure fair procedures in child welfare and TPR cases throughout the state.

When the group first began, one of the first identified needs was to conduct and update the training program and develop an intensive, two-day, TPR-specific training. That training still occurs regularly and is supplemented by other, shorter trainings throughout the State. Training focused on TPR cases includes every aspect of the TPR process. (TPR Protocol). Also, as the State Public Defender expanded its representation of parents in CHIPS cases through a five-county pilot project, initial and ongoing training has been developed for private bar and staff attorneys in CHIPS cases.

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' voices are heard, not just in the courtroom, but also in the state capitol. We ask that if anyone hears of legislative actions concerning parents in TPR or CHIPS cases, to 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 and CHIPS 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 Family Practice Coordinator website will be a readily accessible resource for staff and private-bar 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. Also, if you are looking for something on the website and do not see it, please let us know so that we can help you. The only way all of us are going to provide the best representation possible is by working together for our clients.

Family Defense Practice Coordinator

Alaina Fahley (1).jpg

Alaina Fahey


Alaina Fahley has been with SPD since August 2013.  She works in the Appleton trial office, serving youth and parents in counties throughout Northeastern Wisconsin, especially in the areas of CHIPS and TPR litigation. She received her B.A. in Social Welfare and Justice from Marquette University in 2010 and her J.D. from Marquette University in 2013. She has specialized her practice in youth and family defense, representing young people and adults involved in the child protection, juvenile justice, and adult criminal justice systems, representing clients in CHIPS and TPR cases on a daily basis. During her time at the SPD she has presented at annual trainings to certify staff and private bar attorneys to take youth defense and family defense cases and has given numerous training sessions in Wisconsin and beyond on issues related to youth and family defense issues. She has served two separate terms as the Chair of the Children and the Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin and has presented at the State Bar Annual Conference and the Conference on Child Welfare and the Courts, as well as trained attorneys in other states. She has authored several articles related to child welfare and juvenile justice issues, is a 2024 Ambassador for Racial Justice through the Gault Center and the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative, and has served as an editor of the State Bar Juvenile Law Handbook. She believes in client and family centered defense and works each day to help families avoid the family regulation system. 

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