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 and update the training program and develop an intensive, two-day, TPR-specific training. That training has occurred annually. Training has focused on two sets of issues: pre-trial issues, such as pre-trial discovery, the nuts and bolts of a TPR case, and pre-trial motion practice; and also on TPR trials, and litigating dispositions in TPR cases. Trainings on these two sets of issues alternate to ensure that we address 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 legislative actions concerning TPR clients, 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 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 more information, please contact the TPR Practice Group Coordinators:

Amanda Skorr: 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. 

Contact Amanda Skorr: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Diane Rondini-Harness has been a staff attorney in the State of Wisconsin Milwaukee Juvenile  Public Defender’s Office since 1987.  Attorney Rondini-Harness represents children in delinquency  proceedings, child in need of protection and services proceedings, and juvenile in need of protection  and services proceedings.  She also represents parents in termination of parental rights proceedings.  Attorney Rondini-Harness is a 1984 graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA  degree in Political Science and a certificate in Women’s Studies.  She is a 1987 graduate of the  University Of Wisconsin Law School.  Ms. Rondini-Harness has served as an adjunct instructor at  Bryant & Stratton College, teaching Criminal Courts and Juvenile Justice.  Attorney Rondini-Harness is currently an adjunct professor at Marquette University in the College of Professional Studies.  Courses taught include:  Criminal Theory  in Public Service and Social Policy, Special Topics:  Children in Need of Protection and Services, Introduction to Criminology, Juvenile Justice, Ethics in the Criminal Justice System, and Women, Crime and the Law.  Attorney Rondini-Harness has been a member of the College of Professional Studies Graduate Assessment Committee and the College of Professional Studies Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.  She has also served as a faculty advisor to several students for independent study and the capstone experience.  Ms. Rondini-Harness has been a guest lecturer in the Juvenile Justice course at Marquette University Law School, and was a volunteer speaker at the Marquette Law School Public Service Conference, “Leaping the Gaps for Children with Special Needs.”  Attorney Rondini-Harness has participated in several juvenile certification trainings for the Wisconsin State Public Defender.  She has served as a volunteer committee member on the United Way of Greater Milwaukee Healthy Girls Initiative, and as a volunteer advisory board member for the Confidentiality Project, a joint project between the Children’s Court Improvement Program and the Children’s Justice Act Program.

Contact Diane Rondini-Harness: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.