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Child Advocacy Clinic

University of Virginia School of Law

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Telephone: 434) 924-7354

100% Children's Law

Law students from the University of Virginia work as volunteers with JustChildren. Students represent low-income children statewide who have problems with the education, foster care and juvenile justice systems. Students are supervised by two full-time and two part-time attorneys for approximately 20 to 30 cases a year. The project works with volunteer psychologists and employs a community education coordinator. Although the project does not currently work with volunteer attorneys, they could use volunteers to assist with research.

JustChildren does accept calls from children and the public seeking legal information. It also has a manual for parents entitled Helping You Help Your Child, which explains the rights of children to a variety of services, and effective advocacy strategies.

Children's Law Clinics

University of Richmond

28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
Telephone: (804) 287-6468
Fax: (804) 287-6489

100% Children's Law
Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys

The Children's Defense Clinic (formerly the Delinquency Clinic) is a litigation-oriented clinic that focuses on the needs of "at-risk" children and adolescents. Clinic students advocate on behalf of children appearing before area juvenile courts. In the majority of cases, students serve as defense counsel for youth accused of delinquency (criminal) offenses. Students are also occasionally assigned to work as guardians ad litem on other cases which involve children's issues, such as abuse and neglect.

Law students in the Education Rights Clinic (formerly the Disability Law Clinic) represent children and parents seeking appropriate special education and community-based services mandated by both federal and state law. Students also represent youth with mental disabilities who are before the juvenile court or are incarcerated or institutionalized. Clinic students may be appointed guardians ad litem for children with mental health needs in the justice system.

The Jeanette Lipman Family Law Clinic is an in-house clinic that provides legal assistance to families and children in the City of Richmond. Areas of representation include divorce, custody, visitation, domestic violence, foster care, public benefits and housing.

Justchildren Program

Legal Aid Justice Center

1000 Preston Ave.
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Telephone: (434) 977-0553
Fax: (434) 977-0558

100% Children's Law

This project began in January of 1998 through a Soros Justice Fellowship at the Legal Aid Justice Center. Presently, the program has seven attorneys and two community organizers and has offices in Charlottesville, Richmond and Petersburg. The JustChildren Program, which has staff in the Legal Aid Justice Center offices in Charlottesville, Richmond and Petersburg, works to improve Virginia's public education, juvenile justice, and foster care systems. JustChildren believes that whenever the government assumes responsibility for the care of a child - whether in the educational system, the foster care system or the juvenile justice system - the result should be that the child's chances for success in life are improved. Cases are referred from juvenile court, social service agencies, the clients themselves, heath care professionals, CASA volunteers and other attorneys or community members. The office also supervises law students from the University of Virginia School of Law Child Advocacy Clinic (listed in this Directory), and works with volunteer psychologists. Although the project does not currently work with volunteer attorneys, they could use volunteers to assist with research (interested attorneys should call the legal director).

The project does accept calls from children and the public seeking legal information. It also has a manual for parents entitled Helping You Help Your Child, which explains the rights of children to a variety of services, and effective advocacy strategies.

Law Center for Children

Legal Services of Northern Virginia

6066 Leesburg Pike, Ste. 500
Falls Church, VA 22041
Telephone: (703) 778-6800
Fax: (703) 778-4790

100% Children's Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

The Law Center for Children is a division of Legal Services of Northern Virginia. The Center's staff handle a variety of legal areas: school disciplinary and special education cases; adoptions, generally for children adopted by family members; guardianships for young people who are disabled and reaching age of maturity; public benefits, particularly SSI appeals for children with disabilities; emancipation of minors; and name changes and correction of birth certificates. Volunteer attorneys are utilized to represent or provide legal counsel, and also write brochures and other outreach materials. Volunteers are assigned a mentor and are given training materials.

The Law Center does accept calls from the public and from children seeking legal information. Clients are referred from social service agencies, schools, or they refer themselves.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

699 Prince St.
Alexandria, VA 22314-3175
Telephone: (703) 224-2150 / (800) 843-5678
Fax: (703) 224-2122

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was established in 1984 as a private, nonprofit organization which operates under a Congressional mandate and works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice in coordinating the efforts of law enforcement, social service agencies, elected officials, judges, prosecutors, educators, and the public and private sectors to break the cycle of violence that historically has perpetuated crimes against children. NCMEC does not provide legal representation, but does provide technical assistance and training in the prosecution and treatment of cases involving missing and exploited children. NCMEC spearheads national efforts to locate and recover missing children, and raises public awareness about ways to prevent child abduction, molestation, and sexual exploitation.

In 1990 NCMEC merged with the Adam Walsh Child Resource Centers to become "a strong, loud voice for children." This merger has made NCMEC truly a national organization with its headquarters in Virginia. The Adam Walsh Children's Fund (AWC), based in Florida, focuses on special projects to reach millions of children and families with positive, nonfearful child safety programs. Branch offices operate in California, Florida, New York, and South Carolina, and Kansas City, Missouri, providing hands-on assistance to families of missing children, advocating legislative changes to better protect children, conducting an array of prevention and awareness programs, and motivating citizens to become personally involved in child protection issues.

NCMEC has a number of books, brochures and publication packages available either for free, or a nominal charge depending on the number of copies desired.

Immigrant Children's Legal Program

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

2231 Crystal Dr., Ste. 350
Arlington, VA 22202-3711
Telephone: (703) 310-1130
Fax: (703) 769-4241

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

The number of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border into the U.S. is a growing humanitarian crisis. The countries of Central America are experiencing increased community violence, organized crime and cartel violence which create the forced migration of individuals and families. Children fleeing alone are in desperate need of protection from community and family violence, organized crime and trafficking. Their migration includes treacherous journeys to the US leaving them vulnerable to many types of risk.

USCRI's Immigrant Children's Legal Program (formerly the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children) works with over 275 law firms and thousands of attorneys throughout the U.S. to provide these children with pro bono legal representation in their immigration proceedings. Without adequate representation, children are unable to make claims for asylum, trafficking protection or other special status to which they may be eligible. In addition to mentoring individual pro bono attorneys, the Immigrant Children's Legal Program (ICLP) conducts trainings and maintains updated materials on immigration law at USCRI's online resource library. ICLP has conducted migration awareness workshops in Mexico and Central America and hosted international conferences on child immigration issues. To date, ICLP has made a difference in the immigration cases of nearly 5,000 children.

Virginia Poverty Law Center

700 East Main Street, Suite 1410
Richmond, VA 23219
Telephone: (804) 782-9430
Fax: (804) 649-0974

The Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) is a non-profit organization that serves Virginia's legal aid system by providing advocacy, training, and litigation support on civil justice issues that affect low-income Virginians. The Law Center offers a variety of services to the Commonwealth's low-income children on issues including juvenile justice, health care, special education, public benefits, and domestic violence.

The Law Center conducts annual training workshops for attorneys that are new to the legal aid network, and for attorneys in private law firms who do pro bono work for legal aid clients. The Center also conducts an annual conference for legal aid attorneys and others who serve VPLC clients. The conference features workshops dealing with the various areas covered by case handlers. Most of the workshops provide CLE credits.