Family and Youth Law Center
Capital University Law School
303 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone: (614) 236-6730
Fax: (614) 236-6958
Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys
The Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University Law School (FYLaw) works within child welfare, adoption, and juvenile justice systems to support positive outcomes for children, youth, and families. Established in 1998 as the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy, FYLaw partners with local, state, and national agencies and organizations in collaborations aimed at improving the laws, policies, and practices associated with child protection, adoption, and juvenile justice systems.
Over the past few years, FYLaw has expanded the services it provides beyond advocacy, training, and education to include direct representation of systems-involved youth. FYLaw launched the Foster Youth Advocacy Center (FYAC) to provide civil legal services to young adults transitioning out of the child welfare system. This year, FYAC expanded its operation to offer these services to families at risk of systems involvement.
In each of these initiatives, FYLaw partners with Capital University and Capital University Law School to help provide experiential and service learning opportunities to law and social work students interested in working in child welfare and other related fields. FYLaw's student-oriented programming includes a national moot court competition, a fellowship program, externships, and pro bono opportunities.
Guardian at Litem Project
100% Children's Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys
Established in 1980 by the Cuyahoga County Bar Association, the Guardian Ad Litem Project represents children in abuse and neglect cases, as well as in other juvenile court cases in which there is a parent/child conflict, where the child has no parent, where the parent is a minor or appeared to be mentally incompetent, or where appointment is otherwise necessary to ensure a fair hearing. The Guardian ad Litem Project recruits and trains GALs and monitors their performance. The Project serves as the liaison between the GALs, the Juvenile Court, and the public. Some attorneys serve as guardian ad litem pro bono, while others earn a fee, either paid by Cuyahoga County or the parties to the case. The Guardian ad Litem Project provides a two-day training for attorneys to become qualified GALs in Cuyahoga County. Advanced Trainings, also provided by the Project, are required to continue serving as a GAL.
Justice for Children Project
Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
55 W. 12th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
Telephone: (614) 292-6821
Fax: (614) 292-5511
100% Children's Law
The Justice for Children Project is an interdisciplinary research initiative at The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law. The Project engages in research and law reform while providing law students with opportunities to explore issues pertaining to children. The Project may undertake law reform initiatives. For example, the Project filed an amicus brief in the Ohio Supreme Court and the Kentucky Supreme Court, arguing that the children have a constitutional right to maintain and pursue their sibling relationship in a contested adoption matter. The Project is also developing GAL standards in abuse, neglect, dependency, delinquency, and unruly cases, and in domestic matters.
The Justice for Children Practicum began in January 1998 through funding from an Ohio State University academic enrichment grant. Part of the Justice for Children Project, the Practicum provides direct legal representation of children and their interests. The objective of the Practicum is not to represent a large number of clients, but instead to assemble a selection of cases that provides students with an opportunity to learn an ethical and strong legal practice model. 16 to 20 students, along with one staff attorney, handle approximately 40 cases as both attorneys and guardians ad litem. In addition to representing children in juvenile justice cases, the Project, through the Practicum, has filed a number of constitutional challenges on behalf of children. These have included cases addressing curfew ordinances, free speech, and search and seizures. Cases are referred primarily through juvenile court, though some are referred by other attorneys or from the clients themselves. The clinic does accept calls from the public seeking legal information.
In addition, the Justice for Children Project's Pro Bono Partnership pairs local attorneys who are willing to serve as pro bono guardians ad litem with law students from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Pro Bono Research Group, who provide the attorneys research, drafting, and other assistance in performing the duties of the guardian ad litem.