Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The PDA has a new Executive Director!

The Parental Defense Alliance of Utah is pleased to announce that it has hired a new Executive Director.  Kirstin Norman received a J.D. from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU in 2009 and following law school clerked for Commissioner Patton in the 4th District.  She has also practiced in family law and juvenile court in Utah County.

You might recognize Kirstin as she has assisted the PDA with its annual conferences and other projects.  We are delighted that she has joined us in our mission to provide support and assistance to the parental defense attorneys of Utah.  Welcome Kirstin!

Kirstin can be reached at and 801-610-9127.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Congratulations to this year's award winners!

We are pleased to announce this years PDA award recipients.  These individuals represent what is best in parental defense and we are proud to recognize them.

Liza Jones
New Parental Defender

Jason Richards
Trial Attorney of the Year

Jacqueline Jensen
Appellate Advocate of the Year

Don Redd
Lifetime Achievement, Attorney of the Year

Loreli Riley
Special Service

Monday, May 2, 2016

The PDA Is Looking for a New Executive Director

Following the resignation of Kate Hansen, the PDA is looking for a new Executive Director.  Applications will be accepted until May 15, 2016.  Please send a resume with a cover letter to

Below is a link to the job description.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bill of Rights for Parents Investigated by the Child Welfare System

Rise, an organization that works with parents to write and share their experiences with the child welfare system, has created a Bill of Rights for parents.  They also have a pamphlet called "From Rights to Reality: A plan for parent advocacy and family-centered child welfare reform."  You can get a copy of the pdf HERE.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Now Accepting Nominations for Annual PDA Awards

It is that time of year again!  We are now accepting nominations for parental defense attorneys who have done an exceptional job.  We hope you will nominate those attorneys who have made remarkable contributions and efforts this year.

The categories for the awards are:
  • Best New Parental Defender (for those with less than three years in parental defense)
  • Excellence in Trial Advocacy
  • Excellence in Appellate Advocacy
  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Special Awards (for unique contributions)

There are two ways you can make your nominations:

1.  Through our website by using the following link HERE.

2.  By printing the form, found HERE, and submitting via fax or email to Grant Dickinson.

Please make all submissions by 5 p.m. on April 14, 2016.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ICWA: Designated Tribal Agents for Service of Notice

The Federal Register has published a document that has all of the designated Tribal agents for service of notice.  You can find a copy of the documents HERE.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Registration is OPEN for the Annual Conference of the Parental Defense Alliance of Utah

The PDA invites you to register for the Annual Conference of the Parental Defense Alliance of Utah which will be held on April 28-29, 2016.

This is a two day conference is created to train practitioners who represent parents in Utah's Juvenile Courts.  This year you will find a variety of topics covered, including:
  • Parental Fitness Evaluations
  • Drug Testing
  • Ethics: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • The Office of Services Review
  • Case law Update
  • Legislative Update
  • Professionalism and Civility
The final agenda is pending and will be available prior to the conference.  11.5 hours of CLE credit will be requested from the Utah State Bar.


Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:30am until Friday, April 29, 2016 at 1:00pm.  This year we will have the same amount of CLE available, but are putting more sessions on the first day so that we will be done after lunch on the second day.

Registration is currently available by clicking on the link above or going to:

Registration will close on April 15, 2016, but you should register soon to ensure hotel availability.


The cost of the conference this year will be $150.  For those attorneys who have a defense contract with their county (including conflict contracts), a $50 discount is available.  Please contact your board representative to get your code.

Judicial Districts
Board Member Representative
Contact Email
1 and 2
Carol Mortensen
Jim Smith
Grant Dickinson
5 and 6
David Boyer
7 and 8
Mark Tanner

For those who wish to pay with a check rather than a credit card, please contact me for a code and I will send you an invoice.


We will be staying at the Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah.  You do not need to contact the resort to reserve a room.  Please do so through your registration.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - If you travel more that 50 Miles to the conference you may reserve a Wednesday night room for free with the code 50MILES.

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - All participants are welcome to reserve a Thursday night room with their registration.

Friday, April 29, 2016 - For those who wish to stay an extra night, Friday night rooms are available for a discounted rate of $100.  These may be reserved and paid for through your registration.


Meals are included in your registration.  However if you have a guest coming with you to the conference who would like to join you for meals, you may sign up for those as part of the registration.

New this year there is a place to indicate if you have any special dietary needs such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or other.


If you have any questions regarding the conference please contact your board member representative or you can email me at or call at 801-834-7646.

We look forward to seeing you all in April!