vcsp services in court
To receive VCSP services in Court the client or attorney must file a motion with the court for a CSS Specialist. The office has a sample motion that can be shared with a client or attorney but VCSP cannot file a motion on a client’s behalf. Once a motion is granted a CSS can only be dismissed by the court. Court clerks alert the VCSP of any upcoming hearings for client’s that receive VCSP services.
Each county in Vermont has a Family, Civil & Criminal Court. VCSP does not support defendants in criminal court at this time (this is a VCSP operational policy). The most common type of cases for VCSP services are:
Parental Rights & Responsibilities
Relief from Abuse & Stalking
CHINS (children in need of care /supervision)
Termination of Parental Rights
Probate / Guardianship
Note: For Juvenile cases involving DCF please note that CSS services are administered separately. A client can receive VCSP services in Court and not in DCF or vice versa. Scheduling for hearings is done by the Judiciary and scheduling for DCF meetings is done by the DCF caseworker.
For Juvenile cases involving DCF please note that DCF is not involved at all in any services the VCSP provides in court. A client can receive VCSP services in Court and not in DCF or vice versa. Scheduling for hearings is done by the Judiciary and scheduling for DCF meetings is done by the DCF caseworker.
Documents that can be provided to the VCSP that are helpful for the efficiency of the process and qualification of a new client in court would be the Motion to appoint a Communication Specialist, the Entry Order granting the motion and Hearing Notices as well as any other document filed that would offer insight into how to best support a client with their effort to communicate effectively. VCSP should not receive ongoing case or party distributions.
Once the VCSP has the referral information necessary to consider someone for VCSP Services VCSP staff will speak with the client and offer a Release of Information Form that will allow the VCSP to receive information from and speak with health care and/or service provider(s). An Explanation of Need form will usually be sent to a service provider to substantiate that the client has a disability, and that the disability affects their ability to communicate.
With the information and any documentation provided the VCSP determines eligibility for services. Upon approval from the Court and receipt of notice of a hearing or meeting from the Judiciary, the VCSP can assign a Communication Specialist.
An estimate for a hearing is sent to the requesting Court, and upon approval, on to the Chief Superior Judge for final funding approval.
Many hearings are now conducted remotely via Webex. Each court operates a little bit differently in how it decides if a hearing is remote only or in person. If the hearing is remote only it is possible to request to be there in person as an accommodation. A CSS can also be assigned in person and meet with the client at the courthouse and connect remotely to the hearing.
Webex is the name for the system used by the Vermont Judiciary for remote hearings. In preparation for a remote hearing the Vermont Judiciary offers a comprehensive guide on there website.
helpful video resources
An enormous amount of valuable information about navigating legal proceedings can be found at Vermont's legal help website. We would like to share a series of helpful videos made by Legal Services Vermont.
It is important to note that once a motion for a Communication Support Specialist is granted by the court, your CSS will attend the hearing with you even if you have a lawyer representing you. These videos were made by Legal Services Vermont and do not mention VCSP services but they are very helpful in understanding the process of getting a divorce in Vermont.
Know your rights & requirements
complete the divorce forms
file and serve the forms
relief from abuse orders
It is important to note that once a motion for a Communication Support Specialist is granted by the court, for an RFA case or a No Stalking Order case your CSS will attend the hearing with you even if you have a lawyer representing you. These videos were made by Legal Services Vermont and do not mention VCSP services but they are very helpful in understanding the process of getting a Relief from Abuse Order.
relief from abuse
An RFA is heard in Family Court and is for:
- a family member
- a current or former sexual partner
- someone you date or used to date
- someone who lives with you or used to live with you.
no stalking order
A No Stalking Order is heard in Civil Court and is:
- NOT a family member
- NOT a current or former sexual partner
- NOT someone you date or used to date
- NOT someone who lives with you or used to live with you.