Children's Rights Litigation

California

Alliance For Children’s Rights

3333 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 550
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Telephone:    (213) 368-6010
Email:              Info@Kids-Alliance.Org
Website:         Www.Kids-Alliance.Org

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Established in 1992, The Alliance for Children’s Rights protects the rights of impoverished, abused and neglected young people. By providing free legal services, advocacy, and programs that create pathways to jobs and education, the Alliance levels the playing field and ensures that children who experience foster care are able to fulfill their potential.  Efforts are focused in three main areas:

  • Free legal services and advocacy for children in foster care
  • Training and education for those who work with or care for foster children
  • System-wide reform to change policies to improve children’s lives.

Alliance staff and an extensive network of pro bono attorneys advocate directly for individual children, and work toward broader policy solutions to:

  • Expedite adoptions
  • Secure medical coverage and therapies for children
  • Support children recovering from trauma and those with disabilities
  • Assist young adults aging out of foster care as they grow into independence and self-reliance

Bay Area Legal Aid

1735 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612
Telephone:    (510) 663-4755
Website:         https://baylegal.org/what-we-do/our-clients/youth-justice/

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Bay Legal’s mission is to provide meaningful access to the civil justice system through quality legal assistance regardless of a client’s location, language or disability.

Youth Justice Project: This project provides disadvantaged youth and adolescents with holistic supports, services, and legal representation and by providing early identification and intervention through a collaborative partnership with community-based religious leaders.

Baylegal provides legal assistance in the following practice areas:

  • Foster Care: Baylegal provides expertise in foster care benefits programs and partners with the youth law center and the public interest law project to provide trainings in foster care benefits to attorney and advocate organizations. Baylegal is also on the foster care benefits taskforce, a state-wide taskforce that tackles systemic barriers to benefits for foster care youth.
  • Health Access: Assist youth by removing barriers to healthcare coverage due to wrongful coverage suspension, termination, language barriers and more.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Prepare and submit SSI applications and prepare appeals for denied applications.
  • Education: Advocate for youth who are disenrolled from their local school when they are placed in juvenile hall, inappropriately placed in self-study programs, in need of an initial special education assessment, or lacking an appropriate and current individualized education program.
  • Housing: File habitability claims with local housing agencies to remedy substandard housing conditions such as rodent or pest infestations, mold and other health hazards and prevent imminent homelessness.
  • Homeless Youth Services: Provide weekly, ongoing clinic at oakland’s dreamcatcher emergency youth shelter to assist youth with legal issues and help stabilize their housing situation.
  • Alameda Collaborative Courts: Baylegal acts as the civil advocacy coordinator for the Alameda County juvenile collaborative court. as such, Baylegal works with detained youths and their families to assess and address their civil legal needs (unrelated to the juvenile justice proceedings) in key areas including accessing health insurance or appropriate mental health treatment, unmet educational needs, low income and housing instability.

Center for Juvenile Law and Policy
Loyola Law School

919 Albany St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Telephone:    (213) 736-8339
Website:          https://www.lls.edu/academics/centers/centerforjuvenilelawpolicy/

100% Children’s Law

In 2004, the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy (CJLP) was founded by Cyn Yamashiro, a public defender, in order to tackle the injustices of the Los Angeles County juvenile court system, injustices rooted in inadequate funding, racial discrimination, a failing social welfare system, and a culture of over-incarceration. With seven law students, the Center provided state-of-the-art, holistic advocacy to 24 juvenile clients in Inglewood and Compton in the first year. Since then, the Center has expanded to three clinics with four full-time faculty, four staff, and about 30 students each year who have dedicated over 65,000 pro bono hours representing 475 children in 825 cases in L.A.’s neediest communities: Inglewood, Compton, and the San Gabriel Valley.  

While providing exemplary legal advocacy to indigent children, the Center trains law students and prepares them for careers in child advocacy and the public interest. These students work with faculty and a social worker in a legal defense team that holistically represents a child’s stated interests, thereby tackling the often treatable root causes of delinquent behavior: mental health issues, learning disabilities, homelessness, drug abuse, domestic violence, and inadequate foster-

At the heart of the CJLP mission are its juvenile legal clinics, where law students with faculty represent live clients. In the Juvenile Justice Clinic (JJC), students and faculty mount a zealous defense of children in delinquency court that starts with the first client meeting and lasts until the child achieves majority. Alongside their legal advocates, the Center’s social worker provides mental health evaluations for all clients, crafts treatment plans, designs innovative disposition (sentencing) alternatives for the courts, and, with the legal team, monitors progress after dispositions. The second clinic, the Youth Justice Education Clinic (YJEC), stops the school-to-prison pipeline by advocating for the educational needs of at-risk students in LAUSD hearings, by securing their access to Regional Center services, and by assuring the systemic implementation of their education rights. The Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic (JIFS Clinic) represents juveniles who were wrongfully convicted or sentenced to unconscionably long prison terms, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Child Care Law Center

445 Church Street
San Francisco, California 94114
Telephone:    (415) 558-8005
Email:              Info@Childcarelaw.Org
Website:         Www.Childcarelaw.Org

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Founded in 1980, The Child Care Law Center envisions a California where child care is a civil right, not a benefit; where equal opportunity begins with equal access to safe and healthy child care; and where parents can support their families without sacrificing their children’s well-being.  Center attorneys break down the legal barriers standing between families in need and good, affordable child care. They educate parents and child care providers, advise advocates and policymakers, provide legal information and referrals, and litigate high-impact cases.  They work on federal and state subsidies, regulation and licensing, civil rights and disability, housing rights, and economic development and planning.

Children and Family Advocacy Program
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Inc.

3075 Adeline Street, Suite 210
Berkeley, CA 94703
Telephone:   510.644.2555
Fax:                 510-841-8645
Email:             Info@Dredf.Org
Website:        Www.Dredf.Org

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

The Children and Family Advocacy Program of The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Inc. (DREDF) Began in 1979 to help disabled children and their families. Two of DREDF’s projects provide training, information, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities and the professionals who work with them. Services offered through our parent training and information center, foster youth resources for education, and clearinghouse on foster youth and transition enable parents and professionals to become more knowledgeable about educational services available for children with disabilities and their rights and protections under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and other relevant laws.

Children’s Advocacy Institute University of San Diego School of Law

5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Telephone:    (619) 260-4806
Email:              Info@Caichildlaw.Org
Website:         http://www.caichildlaw.org/

100% Children’s Law

The Children's Advocacy Institute (CAI), founded at the nonprofit University of San Diego School of Law in 1989, is one of the nation's premiere academic, research, and advocacy organizations working to improve the lives of children and youth, with special emphasis on improving the child protection and foster care systems and enhancing resources that are available to youth aging out of foster care.

In its academic component, CAI trains law students and attorneys to be effective child advocates throughout their legal careers. Its Child Advocacy Clinic gives USD Law students three distinct clinical opportunities to advocate on behalf of children and youth: in the Dependency Clinic, USD Law students are placed with attorneys representing children, parents, or the child welfare agency in Dependency Court proceedings; in the Delinquency Clinic, students work under the supervision of attorneys from the San Diego County Public Defender’s Juvenile Unit, advocating on behalf of delinquent youth in order to ensure the youth receive the appropriate educational, mental health, physical health, and other services they need while they are under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court; and in the Policy Clinic, students work with CAI professional staff on state and federal legislative or regulatory advocacy, impact litigation, research or public education projects.

CAI's research and advocacy component, conducted through its offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., seeks to leverage change for children and youth through impact litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and public education. Active primarily at the federal and state levels, CAI's efforts are multi-faceted—comprehensively and successfully embracing all tools of public interest advocacy to improve the lives of children and youth.

Children’s Law Center of California

Los Angeles Office:
201 Centre Plaza Drive, Ste. 10
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Telephone:     323.980.1700
Website:          Www.Clcla.Org

Sacramento Office:
8950 Cal Center Drive, Suite 301
Sacramento, Ca 95826
Phone:  916.520.2000

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Formerly the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, the Children’s Law Center of California represents children who are at risk of abuse or neglect in juvenile dependency proceedings and seeks to advocate for critical services and support that these children so desperately need. Practicing in dependency court requires the development of expertise in a variety of areas -- negotiation and mediation skills, legal research and writing, and trial skills - along with an array of non-legal areas related to child and family well-being including, child development, health and mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and special education. CLC attorneys and staff are committed and passionate in their representation of our county’s foster youth in day to day dependency hearings, as well as a host of other related hearings and proceedings that seek to ensure the child’s well-being and future success.

On a broader organizational level, CLC strives to identify areas where systemic reforms are needed and to work with other advocacy groups and stakeholders to bring about those more far- reaching changes. Given our organization’s status as the largest representative of foster youth in California, if not the nation, we are uniquely positioned to help propel broader positive reforms. As such, CLC is actively engaged in local, statewide and national legislative and other reform efforts and has also spearheaded initiatives to enhance public awareness within our community of the issues and concerns facing foster youth.

Children’s Legal Issues Practicum
University of Southern California Law School

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0071
Telephone:     (213) 740-2574
Website:          https://weblaw.usc.edu/academics/experiential/clinics/

Associated with A Law School

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Through this Practicum students assist a family in finalizing a foster child adoption and gain experience in California’s child welfare system, juvenile court system and foster care and adoption law.  Students also learn about special education and mental health services for foster children with special needs, as well as techniques to navigate for eligibility and increased funding.  

Children's Rights Project

Public Counsel Law Center
601 S. Ardmore Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90005-2323
Telephone:     (213) 385-2977
Website:          http://www.publiccounsel.org/practice_areas/childrens_rights

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Public Counsel is the public interest law office of the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. It is the largest pro bono law firm in the U.S.  The Children’s Rights Project is a public counsel program that provides free legal and advocacy services to children and youth.

The Children’s Rights Project has many components, including The Adoptions Project, The Pro Per Guardianship Clinic at The Probate Court, The Peace Of Mind Project, The School-Based Legal Assistance Project (Teen Legal Clinic And Community Legal Clinic), The Dependent Children’s Tort & Guardian Ad Litem Program, and The Education Rights Advocacy Program. Staff also provides assistance to youth emancipating from foster care, legal representation to abused and neglected children on immigration cases, and guidance to pregnant and parenting teens.

Staff provides legal representation, general counsel and advice, resources and referrals on child- related issues. Cases are assigned to in-house attorneys, volunteer attorneys, and law student interns. The project provides technical support to lawyers, policy makers and service providers who work with children and youth. The Children’s Rights Project offers free educational and training materials on child-related issues, and has written many brochures on legal topics relevant to youth. Staff also offers seminars and workshops to bench officers, attorneys, social workers, foster and adopting parents, probation officers, schools, health care workers, and state and county government agencies.

Disability Rights Legal Center

Los Angeles, CA 90015
Telephone:    (213) 736-1031
Email:              Drlc@Lls.Edu
Website:         Www.Disabilityrightslegalcenter.Org

10% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Founded in 1975, Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) is a 501C-3 non-profit, public interest advocacy organization that champions the civil rights of people with disabilities as well as those affected by cancer and other serious illnesses. DRLC is a leader in bringing cutting-edge cases to court and in winning victories to protect and to expand the rights of people to help eliminate discrimination and other legal barriers.

DRLC does work with pro bono volunteers and has an Education Advocacy program through which volunteers can help a student in need of special education by negotiating Individualized Education Plans with school districts to ensure low-income and minority children receive the special education services they need.  DRLC provides free MCLE training and ongoing support to EAP volunteers.

East Bay Children’s Law Offices

7700 Edgewater Drive, Suite 210
Oakland, California 94621
Telephone:     (510) 496-5200
Website:          Http://Www.Ebclo.Org/

East Bay Children’s Law Offices (EBCLO) was founded in 2009 to represent children and youth in the Juvenile Dependency Court. Since that time, EBCLO's program has expanded to include the representation juvenile justice cases and education matters including special education and school discipline. Committed to the need for high quality legal advocacy for children, EBCLO's multi-disciplinary team of attorneys and social workers take a holistic approach to providing clients with a voice in the decisions affecting their lives both in and out of court.

Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project

1530 James M. Wood Blvd.
Box 15095
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Telephone:   (213) 251-3505
Fax:                 (213) 487-0986
Website:        Http://Esperanza-La.Org/

  50% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Esperanza began in 2008 and provides direct representation of unaccompanied children.  The most common form of relief pursued is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and Asylum but they are able to pursue any eligible form of relief before USCIS and/or the Immigration Court.  Esperanza does work with pro bono lawyers.

Learning Rights Law Center

205 S. Broadway, Ste. 1008
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Telephone:    (213) 489-4030
Email:              Leticia@Learningrights.Org
Website:         Www.Learningrights.Org

Originally part of The Western Law Center For Disability Rights, The Learning Rights Law Center became a separate non-profit in organization in 2005. Its sole focus is to ensure students have equitable access to the public education system. Learning Rights helps low-income students at risk of or involved in the child welfare and/or juvenile justice systems; students with learning disabilities and/or learning difficulties; and students not accessing the public school system because of language, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, homelessness or inadequate facilities.

Learning Rights programs include advocacy for the educational needs of children in the juvenile justice and foster care systems and students with learning disabilities; The Rez Ed American Indian Program to train tribal representatives; The School To Prison Reversal Project, a pilot project in the San Fernando valley to reduce the number of youth with learning disabilities entering the juvenile justice system; and the Cross-Over Youth Project, which aims to prevent at-risk youth in the foster care system from “crossing over” to the delinquency system by offering a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating their needs.

Learning Rights is also home to the Los Angeles Medical-Legal Collaborative for Education (LAMCE), in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Started in September 2005 with the generous support of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, LAMCE continues to provide legal services for special education issues. Currently, LAMCE works with health professionals in several departments of Children’s Hospital to provide education advocacy and legal representation to patients with education needs.

Legal Advocates For Children & Youth

Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
152 N. Third St., 3rd Floor
San Jose, CA  95112
Telephone:     (408) 293-4790
Website:          Www.Lawfoundation.Org

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

A project of the Santa Clarita County Bar Association Law Foundation, Legal Advocates for Children & Youth (LACY) addresses the problems of children and youth in crisis through legal advice, advocacy, representation, referral, education, and systemic reform. Staff attorneys and a social worker combine their skills to provide free, comprehensive legal and related social services to children and youth. LACY’s program areas include a Housing Program; a Children and Youth Program; and a Health/Mental Health Program.  LACY reaches over 10,000 individuals and families a year

LACY utilizes volunteer attorneys, paralegals, law students, and mental health professionals. Cases are closely monitored through staff contact with the volunteers. Training is provided as needed, usually through four training sessions a year.

Referrals to LACY are through client word-of-mouth, juvenile and probate courts, schools, social service agencies, health care professionals, other attorneys, and nonprofit organizations serving runaway and homeless youth.

Legal Services For Children, Inc.

1254 Market St., 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone:     (415) 863-3762
Website:          https://www.lsc-sf.org/

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Established in 1975, Legal Services for Children, Inc. (LSC) uses a holistic team approach utilizing legal advocacy and social work services with the goal of empowering clients and actively involving them in the critical decisions that impact their lives.  LSC uses this model to achieve safety and stability at home; education success; and freedom from detention and deportation.

LSC uses pro bono lawyers in their representation of children.

Legal Services of Northern California

517 12th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Telephone:    (916) 551-2150 Ext. 7110
Email:              Exec-Office@Lsnc.Net
Website:         https://lsnc.net/

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Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC) has been in existence since 1956 providing civil legal assistance to low income persons. LSNC handles approximately 1,500 children’s cases a year. Approximately 10% of the caseload is devoted to children’s law cases. Clients in children’s cases are referred from the juvenile court, social service agencies and other attorneys in the community. Volunteer lawyers and law students are recruited through local bar associations, local law firms and law schools, seminars and direct mailings. Training is provided on an as-needed basis and CLE credit is available. Staff members call volunteers about potential cases and monitor progress through follow-up calls and written requests for updates.

The LGBTQ Center

2017 East 4th Street
Long Beach, CA  90814
Telephone:  562-433-8595
Website:       https://www.centerlb.org/

The Center began in 1977 as living room gatherings to discuss issues important to the LGBTQ community. The Center was officially incorporated in 1980 as One in Long Beach, Inc. and has been providing a variety of health, social, advocacy, legal, and service programs to the LGBTQ community in the Greater Long Beach area for more than three decades.  The Center has a Legal Services Department that provides LGBTQ-specific, inclusive, and affirming legal assistance in the greater Long-Beach area.  The Department provides legal services to the victim of any crime, makes LGBTQ-inclusive referrals and has a Volunteer Legal Clinic.

National Center for Youth Law

405 14th St., 15th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Telephone:     (510) 835-8098
Website:          https://youthlaw.org/

Founded In 1970, The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to use the law to improve the lives of children and youth affected by poverty. NCYL represents poor children in major litigation and provides specialized legal assistance to attorneys and other child advocates who work on behalf of poor children and youth. The Center has numerous materials available (bibliography available upon request).

Headquartered in Oakland, California, NCYL leads high impact campaigns that weave together litigation, research, public awareness, policy development, and technical assistance. The Center’s goal is not to reform one particular system, but to transform the multiple public systems serving vulnerable children—including education, child welfare, public health, behavioral health, juvenile justice, and workforce development—such that they receive the supports they need to advance and thrive.

NCYL takes on complex social challenges by weaving together multiple strategies, including:

  • Partnering directly with public agencies (e.g. Child Welfare, Juvenile Courts) to help them rethink and redesign services for youth.
  • Sponsoring and advocating for legislation.
  • Working with the media to expose agencies that are failing kids in their care.
  • Initiating impact litigation to accelerate reform of public agencies.
  • Setting up demonstration sites to test new models of providing services to vulnerable youth.

Peninsula Family Advocacy Program

Legal Aid Society Of San Mateo County
The Natalie Lanam Justice Center
Sobrato Center For Nonprofits - Redwood Shores


330 Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 123
Redwood City, CA 94065
Telephone:     (650) 517-8904
Website:          http://www.peninsulafap.org/

The Peninsula Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is a collaboration between: Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and Ravenswood Family Health Center. Fap Also Partners With the San Mateo Medical Center and its affiliated clinics FAP strives to improve the health and welfare of pregnant women, low income children and their families. FAP provides legal representation, advocacy and education to help address underlying causes of poor health among low-income children.

Fap provides free legal services and representation to pregnant women and low-income families from San Mateo County and Santa Clara County whose children are receiving medical care at these sites. All families regardless of income or county of residence will receive referrals to appropriate resources. FAP currently helps clients with the following legal issues: disability benefits, domestic violence, family law (child custody, divorce, paternity), guardianship, health insurance and medical bills, housing, public benefits, and special education.

Youth Law Center

417 Montgomery St., Ste. 900
San Francisco, CA 94104-1129
Telephone:     (415) 543-3379
Website:          https://ylc.org/

100% Children’s Law

The Youth Law Center was established in 1978 to focus attention on legal issues affecting children at-risk of being or who are in out-of-home care, specifically those in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. When YLC began they led advocacy efforts to end harmful and destructive practices such as, incarcerating children in adult facilities, isolating children for extended periods of time, shackling and hog-tying children, and incarcerating children for disobedience or running away. YLC’s multi-systemic, whole-child approach addressed issues common to the juvenile justice, child welfare and mental health systems, eliminating silos and tailoring services to each individual child.

While today the Youth Law Center continues its work to stop harmful practices such as reliance on incarceration and group care, it also works to transform systems to nurture the inherent health and potential of children. YLC has led efforts to:

  • Bring faith communities together to support and advocate for children in state custody.
  • Apply the latest brain and developmental science to child welfare practice for babies,
  • Bring the voice of youth and families to policymakers.
  • Focus on excellent care driven by evidence-based and participant-driven policies and practices.
  • Ensure that all youth, whether in foster care, or the juvenile justice system, have access to needed transition, health and educational supports.