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Winter-Spring 2022 Clinic

Child Advocacy Clinic: Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice

Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.

Required Class Component: Child Advocacy: Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice Clinical Seminar (2 spring classroom credits). Students who enroll in this clinic will be enrolled in the required course by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs.

Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.

By Permission: No.

Add/Drop Deadline: Early drop of October 31, 2021.

LLM Students: International students on F-1 student visas are required to have Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization; LL.M. students are not eligible for CPT.

Multi-Semester: This is a winter-spring clinic (2 winter clinical credits + 4-5 spring clinical credits).

Placement Site: Various externship placements. Visit the CAP website to see a list of recent placement sites.

Child Advocacy Clinic: Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice is designed to educate students about a range of social change strategies and to encourage critical thinking about the pros and cons of different approaches. The clinic includes both a classroom seminar and clinical fieldwork component. A variety of substantive areas impacting the lives of children are addressed with a focus on child welfare (abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption), education, and juvenile justice. The Clinic is relevant for students not only with a particular interest in children’s issues, but also for those more generally interested in social change.

Enrollment Options: The Child Advocacy Clinic offers two different clinical fieldwork options: a spring-only clinic and a winter-spring clinic. This offering is for the winter-spring Child Advocacy Clinic. During the winter term, students engage in full-time work at sites generally located outside of the Boston area.  During the spring term, students engage in part-time work (16-20 hours/week for 4-5 clinical credits) at the same site from Cambridge. Enrollment is capped at 8 students.

This course is open only to students who have not taken the Child Advocacy Clinic: System-Involved Youth (held in the fall semester). 

Fieldwork Component: The winter-spring Clinic places students with model organizations around the country and occasionally around the world. Students work full-time at a distant placement for the winter term and then return to Cambridge in the spring, working part-time and remotely for the same organization.

Students work in a wide array of fieldwork settings, ranging from organizations that promote systemic change through impact litigation, to those working on legislative reform, to grassroots organizing initiatives, to social enterprises. Some students will work for reform from within the system and others from outside. Typically, winter-spring students will not engage in individual legal representation.

Based on their particular placements, students may: draft memoranda and briefs for litigation; develop legislative reform proposals; analyze social science and psychological research; leverage the media; engage in written work for a variety of types of publications (legal journals, popular press, guides for practitioners, content for websites); provide strategic advice to start-ups; or create, conduct, and analyze interviews. For instance:

  • In the child welfare area, students may work with a leading boutique impact litigation firm challenging the treatment of youth in foster care; with a new social venture to engage the media to promote the interests of foster care youth; or with a model problem-solving court for drug addicted parents.
  • In the education area, students may work alongside lawyers and community organizers to advocate for new school financing laws; engage in efforts to ensure incarcerated youth receive high-quality schooling; or advise schools and communities on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • In the juvenile justice area, students may develop trainings on best practices for staff at juvenile incarceration facilities; or fight for improved conditions of confinement for juveniles.

Note that many placements cut across substantive areas and engage students in a host of advocacy strategies and skills.

Matching Process: Once enrolled in the Clinic, the Child Advocacy Program (CAP) will provide students with a list of fieldwork placement organizations and their potential projects. Students will give CAP information about their background and interests and rank their placement preferences. CAP will then match students with a placement based on their preferences, the organizations’ needs, and CAP’s mission to provide students with a broad spectrum of experiences. Visit the Child Advocacy Clinic webpage for a list of organizations where clinic students have been placed in prior years.

This course is part of the Child Advocacy Program (CAP). Please see the CAP website for information about other realted courses.