Spring 2023 • Clinic
Child Advocacy Clinic
Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.
Required Class Component: Lawyering for Children & Youth 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 November 28, 2022.
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.
Placement Site: Various externship placements. Visit the CAP website to see a list of recent placement sites.
The Child Advocacy Clinic is an externship clinic where students are placed in a legal setting focused on one or more aspects of child advocacy to conduct fieldwork under the supervision of a practicing attorney. The course is designed to educate students about a variety of substantive areas impacting the lives of children-such as child welfare, education, and juvenile justice-and the different systems that are meant to serve them. This course touches on more discrete issues such as: older youth transitioning out of the foster care system, sexual exploitation of children, LGBTQ youth, special education and school discipline, and the rights of youth in the juvenile justice system. In addition, the course exposes students to a range of social change strategies to encourage critical thinking about the pros and cons of different approaches. The Clinic is relevant not only for students 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 three different clinical fieldwork options: a fall-only clinic, a spring-only clinic, and a winter-spring clinic. The clinical seminar is taken concurrently with the fieldwork. This offering is for the spring Child Advocacy Clinic. Spring clinical students work part-time (16-20 hours/week for 4-5 clinical credits) at a child advocacy organization.
Fieldwork Component: Students are placed as externs, working under a supervising attorney, in a wide array of fieldwork settings. Placements range from organizations providing individual advocacy, to those promoting systemic change through impact litigation, legislative reform, or policy.
Based on their particular placements, students may: engage in courtroom advocacy; participate in school and home visits; assist with interviews of child victims; analyze social science and psychological research; leverage the media and write op-ed articles; prepare for city council or legislative hearings; provide trainings to youth, parents, teachers, attorneys, and police officers; develop legislative reform proposals; participate in mediations; and provide strategic advice to start-ups. For instance:
- In the child welfare area, students may represent individual children who are abused and neglected; serve alongside District Attorneys prosecuting caretakers accused of child maltreatment; or work with juvenile court judges adjudicating care and protection and other child welfare cases.
- In the education area, students may engage in efforts to advance educational outcomes for low-income students; participate in special education cases; or work with the state agency charged with overseeing schools on issues such as charter schools, assessment and accountability, student rights, and school discipline.
- In the juvenile justice area, students may support legislative changes to improve conditions of confinement for juveniles; promote policies to reform the justice system for youth of color; or work alongside juvenile defenders in delinquency and youthful offender cases.
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. Please note that the matching process takes place during the fall semester; enrolled students will need to be available to communicate with CAP and their host organization about various details. 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 related courses.