Beginning in 2009, the law firm of Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C. (“DM&C”) assumed responsibility for the administration and volunteer staffing of the Child Best Interest Program (“Best Interest Program”) to provide pro bono attorney services in Allegheny County. The Best Interest Program (formerly known as the Guardian Ad Litem Program) is a program overseen by the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership, a collaboration of law firms, legal departments, and the Allegheny Bar Foundation. Since the inception of the program, DM&C has dedicated the pro bono efforts of 73 lawyers involving over 10,000 hours of attorney effort.

The Best Interest Program provides pro bono legal representation to minor children who are the subject of difficult, complex and/or high conflict custody cases in the adult Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. Through this representation, the pro bono attorneys investigate the circumstances and background history as it relates to the children and families and present the information to the presiding judge. With the extensive information and provided recommendations, the court is equipped to make an educated decision that is truly in the best interest of the child.

The Best Interest Program influenced what is now The Shortest Line. The Shortest Line aims to supplement the financial resources necessary to fund court ordered psychological examinations and other paramount services in complex and/or high-conflict custody cases for indigent families. Prior to the formation of The Shortest Line, there were no resources or sources of funding for this targeted population, hence the name. Actually,  there is no line of individuals or entities that are involved in funding these critical services. Through the generous funding of county and federal grants, as well as corporate and individual donors, it is the long-term vision of The Shortest Line that no psychological evaluation or court-involved service, deemed critical by the Judges in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas – Adult Family Division, goes unfunded.

Our Mission


A case for funding a psychological evaluation

March 20th, 2024|0 Comments

What happens if a mom suffers from paranoid schizophrenia? Or bipolar disorder? What happens to the child if mom can’t get out of bed because of severe depression and all the other issues she’s facing [...]

A case for psychological evaluation

March 20th, 2024|0 Comments

From the Perspective of a Forensic Psychologist A court-ordered psychological evaluation is for high-risk families dealing with very complex issues. It’s focused on the child’s needs above all else. The referral to a forensic psychologist [...]

The case for Amy, Jess & Luke

March 20th, 2024|0 Comments

Amy and Jess only agree on one thing -- their love for their three-year-old son Luke. As a working poor family, finances are tight. And because of Amy’s numerous relationships, she and Jess now live [...]

A case of who should get custody

March 20th, 2024|0 Comments

From the Perspective of a Family Court Judge              Because John and Grace are considered working poor, they don’t get government funding. They can’t pay for an attorney, a court-ordered psychological evaluation, or services that [...]

A case for hearing “I NEED HELP”

March 20th, 2024|0 Comments

Who’s a working poor family? Honestly, it’s not easy to understand. They’re low-income working families who make 250% above the poverty line set by the federal government. That means, on average, a working poor family [...]

The case for Emma

March 20th, 2024|0 Comments

Emma was scared to start seventh grade in a new school. But it’s just one of many stressors in her young life. Her parents are both on disability. Because they’re separated, Emma lives with each [...]

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Complaints & Modifications Filed in 2020
Minors Involved
Married Families in Poverty


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