The Office of the Parent Defender provides and promotes high quality legal representation for parents affected by the child welfare system (DSS) and parents facing contempt in child support and other civil proceedings.
Wendy C. Sotolongo, Parent Defender, received her JD from the UNC School of Law in 1987. Since then she has practiced almost exclusively in abuse/neglect/dependency court as an agency attorney, a solo practitioner and as a Guardian ad Litem attorney advocate. In December 2006, she began working at the Office of Indigent Services (IDS) in the newly created position of Parent Representation Coordinator. Since 2008, she has been a Steering Committee Member of the American Bar Association’s National Alliance for Parent Representation. In 2014, she was certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. In 2018, she was appointed by the Indigent Defense Services Commission as IDS’ Parent Defender.
Annick Lenoir-Peek, Deputy Parent Defender, received her JD from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1994. She began representing parents in A/N/D and TPR cases in 1999 in South Carolina prior to moving to North Carolina. She has practiced in this area of law exclusively since 2002, including two years as an agency attorney. Her focus has been representing parents at the appellate level since 2002. In 2015, she was certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children Ms. Lenoir-Peek joined the office in June 2008.
Joseph Lee Gilliam, Assistant Parent Defender, received his JD from the UNC School of Law in 2006. He clerked for the Honorable Donna S. Stroud at the North Carolina Court of Appeals from January 2007 to August 2009. Mr. Gilliam joined the office in December 2009.
Jacky Lee Brammer, Assistant Parent Defender, received his JD from the Wake Forest School of Law in 2018. Previously, he taught English at the college level for 10 years. During law school, he provided over 150 clinical hours with the Wake Forest Innocence and Justice Clinic and interned at the NC Supreme Court for the Honorable Cheri Beasley. Mr. Brammer joined the office in March, 2019.
Kate Warren, Administrative Assistant, received a BA with Honors in History from UNC-Chapel Hill in May, 2019. Additionally, she has ten years of combined administrative and teaching experience and is working toward her paralegal certification. Ms. Warren joined the office in January, 2020.
Additionally, the Office of Indigent Defense Services and the UNC School of Government collaborate to create quality, cost-effective indigent defense education, including innovative training programs, manuals, and online resources, to ensure that indigent defenders have the qualifications, training, and support they need to be effective.
Timothy E. Heinle, Civil Defender Educator, UNC School of Government.
Profile and Contact Information
Our office was created to assist attorneys representing indigent parents in abuse, neglect, dependency (A/N/D) and termination of parental rights (TPR) proceedings. We accomplish this goal through training programs and resources, providing consultation to attorneys and maintaining listservs. Our office is also responsible for evaluating and assigning A/N/D and TPR appeals to qualified appellate attorneys including assistant parent defenders within the Office of the Parent Defender.
Created in 2006, the Office of Parent Representation was part of the Office of the Appellate Defender.
The office was created to assist attorneys representing indigent parents in abuse, neglect, dependency (A/N/D) and termination of parental rights (TPR) proceedings. The office was also responsible for evaluating and assigning A/N/D and TPR appeals to qualified appellate attorneys including assistant appellate defenders within the Office of Parent Representation.
On March 2, 2018, the IDS Commission created the Office of the Parent Defender.
On June 8, 2018, the IDS Commission appointed Wendy Sotolongo as NC’s first Parent Defender. On September 21, 2018, the IDS Commission updated the IDS Rules to permit the Office of the Parent Defender to maintain responsibility for assignment of appeals in AND/TPR cases, civil contempt cases and Chapter 35A cases.
Rules, Policies & Standards
- AND/TPR Billing Guidelines Sep 2010
- Appointment & Payment of GALs in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency and Termination of Parental Rights Cases Oct 2013
- Appointment of Counsel in Civil Paternity Cases Nov 2014
- Appointments of Counsel for Non-Parent Respondents Jul 2008
- Depositions: Deposition Policy Sep 2017
- Depositions: Sample Motion for Deposition Costs Sep 2017
- Depositions: Sample Order for Deposition Costs Sep 2017
- Determining the Methods of Indigent Legal Service Delivery in a Judicial District Jun 2002
- Employee Reimbursement Form May 2021
- Entitlement to and Payment of GALs Oct 2014
- Entitlement to Counsel after a Permanent Plan Aug 2014
- No-Merit Briefs Oct 2009
- Out-of-Court Foreign Language Interpreters & Translators Sep 2015
- Performance Guidelines for Attorneys Representing Parent Respondents in Abuse, Neglect, Dependency or TPR Proceedings Dec 2007
- Review from Denial of Attorney Application for Local Indigent List or Removal from Local List Feb 2010
- Review of Decisions of the IDS Director or Designee Dec 2017
- Role of Trial & Appellate Counsel Under Appellate Rule 3.1 Oct 2009