Juvenile Law Clinic

Juvenile  Law Clinic

Mission                    

The  Juvenile Law Clinic (JLC) provides legal services for indigent children, youth,  and families, in four metro counties. Children and families facing abuse,  poverty, homelessness, and despair are among the neediest members of our  community requiring quality legal representation. Student attorneys in the JLC  meet that need.

Clients                    

JLC  clients are predominantly children and youth in the child welfare system, or  the juvenile justice system. Student attorneys also defend parents in child  welfare cases, grandparents seeking adoptions, and school districts trying to  intervene to save the educations of at-risk students.

Scope                    

JLC is a graded two-semester course (8 credit hours for the year); work may exceed  credit received. The clinic is limited to 12 students. Class time focuses on the substantive law of child welfare, delinquency, and education law, as well  as the collateral areas of mental health, immigration, poverty, disability, family law, alternative dispute resolution, and access to social justice for  the indigent in America.

JLC differs from the Family Law Clinic in that students primarily represent minors  and work in cases where the State has intervened in the private family sphere. The Family Law Clinic represents adults on issues like  ending a marriage, getting child support, and arranging parenting time.

Students work directly with child and adult clients to provide  representation in court proceedings of multiple-party litigation. Their representation includes extensive trial advocacy, client interviewing and counsel, drafting documents, researching legal issues, and mediation.

Type of Legal Assistance                    

JLC primarily exposes students to legal issues facing families that are involved with state intervention.

Student attorneys have:

  • Represented children in state court as the child’s guardian ad litem, or legal  representative
  • Represented  homeless/runaway youth and pregnant and parenting teens
  • Advocated for youth clients in mental health institutions
  • Represented young people charged as juveniles, or as adults, as guardians ad litem in the criminal justice system
  • Represented parents and children in adoptions
  • Represented parties in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, and Indian Child Welfare Act cases
  • Handled  appeals
  • Represented respondents in civil child welfare cases
  • Represented petitioners in truancy cases
  • Drafted amici briefs in state supreme court on cutting edge issues for children’s lawyers
  • Presented at statewide legal conferences on engaging and empowering youth