Children's Rights Litigation

Florida

Americans for Immigrant Justice

3000 Biscayne Blvd, Suite 400
Miami, FL 33137
Telephone:   305-573-1106
Email:             info@aijustice.org
Website:        http://www.aijustice.org/

Americans for Immigrant Justice is a law firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, it champions the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocates for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serves as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speaks for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.

AI Justice achieves results both systemically and for individual clients by employing a combination of free legal services, impact litigation, policy reform, and public education at local, state, and national levels. Grounded in real-world, real-people experience, AI Justice’s direct work with immigrant clients informs its broader policy work.

Children and Families Law Clinic

Shepard Broad Law Center, Nova Southeastern University
3305 College Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
Telephone:     (954) 262-6138
Website:          https://www.law.nova.edu/clinics/in-house/children-and-families-clinic.html

100% Children’s Law

Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys

The Children and Families Clinic focuses on the legal needs of individuals, with particular emphasis on the economically disadvantaged. family law constitutes one of the primary components of civil practice, particularly for practitioners in small firms. Along with the Criminal Justice Clinic, this clinic provides the most extensive litigation experience. key areas of legal representation include custody and divorce, benefits, employment, housing, and health. Students will serve as interns either in the in-house clinic, under the supervision of NSU Law Professor-Practitioners, or in a legal-aid or government office that provides legal assistance to children and families.

Children and Youth Law Clinic University of Miami School of Law

1311 Miller Dr., Ste. F305
P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Telephone:     (305) 284-2339
Website:          https://www.law.miami.edu/academics/clinics/children-and-youth-law-clinic

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteers Attorneys

The Children & Youth Law Clinic is an in-house, live-client clinic established in 1995 by the law school. the clinic represents children in foster care and former foster youth in dependency, health care, mental health, disability, independent living, education, immigration and other general civil legal matters, ensuring that they have a voice in court proceedings.

Under the supervision of three Florida-licensed attorneys, approximately 24 second and third year law students each year assume primary responsibility for all aspects of a client’s case.

Students learn fundamental lawyering skills, substantive law and professional ethics. The clinic seeks to instill in students a sense of professionalism and encourages them to pursue public interest law careers or to devote substantial portions of their legal practices to providing pro bono legal assistance to the poor.

Children’s Advocacy Clinic

Florida State University College of Law
425 W. Jefferson St.
Tallahassee, FL 32306
Telephone:     (850)644.3400
Website:          https://law.fsu.edu/academics/clinical-programs/public-interest-law-center/childrens-advocacy-clinic

40% Children’s Law

Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys

The Children’s Advocacy Clinic represents children in foster care, juvenile delinquency, health care, special education, disability, social security and criminal law cases. The clinic provides each child full legal representation. Students represent children in state courts, in trial and appellate cases and in state and federal administrative hearings. Students learn by doing. Through role playing, pre and post legal event discussions, and court room observation, students learn the skill sets and the substantive law to zealously represent their clients. State court judges around Florida routinely appoint the clinic to handle the legal issues of the neediest children.

In addition, in 1997, the Public Interest Law Center began its Children in Prison Project (CIPP) in response to the wave of Florida children being swept into the adult criminal system. In 1995 alone, Florida transferred 7,000 children to the adult criminal system. The primary goal is to provide legal representation to children in adult prison. In specific, the project is focused on the 256 juveniles who received life without parole sentences in Florida. Students represent juveniles in prison in a variety of ways, specifically in the areas of resentencing, clemency, and post-conviction motions and appeals.

Children’s Advocacy Projects

Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc.
423 Fern St., Ste. 200
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Telephone:    (561) 655-8944
                          (800) 403-9353
Email:              Info@Legalaidpbc.Org
Website:         https://legalaidpbc.org/

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc., a nonprofit organization started in 1955, has several projects that provide legal representation for children in Palm Beach, Florida. Begun In 2001, The Foster Children’s Project provides an attorney to represent children in the foster care system and to advocate for permanence within 12 months. The Education Advocacy Law Project partners with the Palm Beach County School District and The Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Project to train volunteer attorneys who provide free legal representation to children who are facing expulsion from the school system.

The Juvenile Advocacy Project handles approximately 350 children’s law cases each year, and has a staff consisting of four attorneys and two paralegals, with the help of volunteer attorneys. volunteers work with staff attorneys in handling cases, and provide assistance with the intake of information from clients and research. Clients are referred to the JAP Project from the juvenile court, family court, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals, and other attorneys in the community. Volunteers are recruited through the local bar association, law firms and law schools. trainings are offered to volunteers on an as-needed basis. The JAP Project works with social workers, child development specialists, and psychologists to assist in the preparation of cases. The JAP Project has handled impact litigation. a recent suit brought in federal court challenges a school board policy of referring developmentally disabled children who “act out” as a result of their disability to the state attorney’s office for prosecution without providing an appropriate alternative educational setting.

Relative Caregivers Project provides legal advice and representation to adult caregivers who are caretakers for relative minor children (grandchildren, nephews, nieces). Services are designed to assist with the unique legal problems faced by relative caregivers raising minor children such as temporary legal custody, adoption, guardian advocacy, access to public benefits and health care, housing and children’s educational needs.

Children’s Healthcare Advocacy Project provides direct and co-representation as well as systemic advocacy to promote access to healthcare by overcoming obstacles in the rapidly changing and complex Medicaid programs to ensure foster children receive necessary health benefits.

Florida Legal Services

2425 Torreya Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Telephone:     (850) 385-7900
Website:          http://www.floridalegal.org/

95% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Florida Legal Services provides technical expertise and works towards systemic reform in poverty issues of all types. The Juvenile Program, which began in 1996, engages in systemic reform of the systems which serve children, including foster care, juvenile justice, the health care system, schools and other institutions, through all reasonable and necessary manner of advocacy through the state and federal courts, administrative proceedings, and legislative and other policy advocacy. The Office handles impact litigation and was one of many co-counsel on Bonnie L. V. Bush, a state-wide challenge to Florida’s foster care system. The Juvenile Program also secured an appellate decision that when a parent in a dependency is entitled to court-appointed counsel, that counsel must be competent and the remedy for incompetent counsel is through a Habeas Action. The Office does handle a few individual cases if they present any type of due process issue of first impression or otherwise fit into the office’s impact area. Calls from children and the public seeking legal information are accepted.

Florida Legal Services provides support to practicing attorneys through training, technical assistance and sometimes co-counseling. The program also maintains several list-serves on various substantive issues affecting children. sample memos of law and other pleadings are posted on this site. To view these sites and list-serves, contact the supervising attorney to be admitted as a member. Volunteer attorneys are sometimes utilized to assist in research and in drafting pleadings. volunteers also provide support with daily case representation.

Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program

The Holland Building
600 South Calhoun St., Ste. 154
Tallahassee, FL 32399
P.O. Box 10628 Tallahassee, Fl 32302
Telephone:     (850) 922-7213
Website:          https://guardianadlitem.org/

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

The Statewide Office for Florida’s Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Program works to provide administrative support and secure additional resources for the circuit GAL offices around the state. The Mission of the state of Florida GAL Program is to represent the best interests of children who are alleged to be abused, neglected or abandoned and who are involved in court proceedings. Each judicial circuit has its own GAL office and is supported by a local non-profit organization. Guardians Ad Litem do not provide legal representation to children and the lawyers employed by the GAL Program represent the Guardians ad litem, not children. Volunteer attorneys  are sometimes used to represent the program.

Florida’s Children First

1801 N. University Dr., 3rd Floor, Ste. B
Coral Springs, FL 33071
Telephone:    (954) 796-0860
Email:              Fcf@Floridaschildrenfirst.Org
Website:         http://www.floridaschildrenfirst.org/

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Florida’s Children First is a Florida bar foundation funded statewide partnership established in 1990 to advance children’s legal rights in a manner consistent with their medical and education needs. Children First brings together the resources of the legal, medical and education professions through its project members, namely the Children First Project of Nova Southeastern University, Southern Legal Counsel, The University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida Legal Services, and the Florida State University College Of Law. It recruits volunteer lawyers on an as- needed basis.

Children First is active in policy advocacy on behalf of children at the state and local level as well as litigating major issues requiring systemic change. Two such impact cases are a statewide class action on therapeutic services for children in state custody and a statewide education adequacy lawsuit. Children First also develops and delivers specialized trainings and materials for lawyers, guardians ad litem, social workers, educators and doctors, and provides technical assistance and case consultation on cases referred by lawyers.

Center on Children and Families 
University of Florida, Levin College of Law

P.O. Box 117626
Gainesville, FL 32611
Telephone:     (352) 273-0800 or (352)273-0613
Fax:                   352.392.2606
Website:          https://www.law.ufl.edu/areas-of-study/centers/center-on-children-families

100% Children’s Law

The Mission of The Center on Children and Families is to promote the highest quality of advocacy, teaching and scholarship in the areas of child & family law and policy.

The Center’s goals are: 1) to promote quality scholarship on issues of importance to children and their families; 2) train a new generation of advocates for children and their families; 3) educate children about their rights and responsibilities in a free society; and 4) promote interdisciplinary and child-centered methods for studying systems serving children and their families.

Guardian Ad Litem Program

Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc.
100 E. Robinson St.
Orlando, FL 32801
Telephone:     (407) 841-8310 X3136
Email:               Info@Legalaidocba.Org
Website:          http://www.legalaidocba.org/

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

The Legal Aid Society was begun in the early 1960’s as a volunteer organization and created by attorneys who were members of the Orange County Bar Association. The volunteer attorneys agreed to take referrals in civil and criminal cases for local residents who could not afford an attorney. In 1967, the organization was formally incorporated in Florida as a not for profit under the name of Legal Aid Society of The Orange County Bar Association, Inc. It hired its first director and full time staff and offered free civil legal services. Currently, legal aid employs about 45 staff including 18 attorneys and coordinates the contributions of time and money from over 3000 volunteers both attorneys and non-attorneys.

Juvenile Defense Clinic

Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Barry University
6441 E. Colonial Dr.
Orlando, FL 32807
Telephone:     407-681-5403
Website:          https://www.barry.edu/law/future-students/academic-program/clinics.html

100% Children’s Law

Could Use Volunteer Attorneys

Students enrolled in the Juvenile Defense Clinic, formerly the Children and Families Clinic, represent children who are charged with delinquent acts in juvenile court. Delinquency cases are the juvenile equivalent of adult criminal cases. The Juvenile Defense Clinic focuses on in-court advocacy as a defense attorney. Students conduct all court appearances under the supervision of the professor. Also conduct detention/probable cause hearings, negotiate pleas, interview witness, take depositions, argue motions, conduct trials and post-trial proceedings. Students learn to develop theories of defense to the crimes charged as well as working with the client to address the underlying issues affecting the client's behavior. Students study the mental health issues that affect at risk teenagers and visit clients at their homes, schools, the juvenile detention court, the youth shelter and juvenile commitment programs. Clinic students are in court on a regular basis.

Lawyers for Children America, Inc.

C/O Steel, Hector & Davis
200 S. Biscayne Blvd., Ste. 4000
Miami, FL 33131
Telephone:     (305) 577-4771
Email:               Fl@Lawyersforchildrenamerica.Org
Website:          Www.Lawyersforchildrenamerica.Org

100% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Lawyers for Children America, Inc. is a non-profit organization that began as a pilot in Hartford, Connecticut to address the issue of youth and violence. Lawyers for Children America seeks to engage the private bar in pro bono work on behalf of children and youth.

Lawyers for Children America Trains and provides ongoing support to attorneys who have committed themselves to providing pro bono representation to children in the abuse and neglect system. These attorneys serve as legal advocates, ensuring that necessary services are accessed for the child and family, minimizing the upheaval and trauma typically associated with foster care, and working toward finding a safe and permanent home for the child. The ongoing training and support that Lawyers for Children America provides enables volunteer attorneys to address the multiple needs of children such as medical and dental, special education, emotional and enrichment in a comprehensive manner.

L. David Shear Children's Law Center of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.

100 E. Madison St., Ste. 301
Tampa, Fl 33602
Telephone:     813.227.9050
Website:          https://bals.org/childrens-law-center

Bay Area Legal Services Established the L. David Shear Children’s Law Center (CLC) in 2006, to provide legal representation to children in the Hillsborough County Foster Care System. The CLC is named after BALS supporter, Attorney L. David Shear, in recognition of his significant contributions to our community and BALS. CLC attorneys receive referrals from various government and social services agencies and are appointed by judges to represent foster children from birth through five years old (and their older siblings). The primary goal of the CLC is to reduce the time that children spend in the foster care system, whether they return to homes that have become stable and safe; they are adopted by loving adoptive parents; or they are given permanent guardians.

CLC’s team consists of attorneys and social workers who work in partnership on each child’s case, allowing them to focus on the child as an individual with unique needs and legal interests. Our zealous advocacy doesn’t end in the courtroom and includes fighting for children to receive a free and appropriate public education, necessary and quality services, and achieve stability in a safe and loving home promptly. Children deserve a voice in the matters that impact their lives the most, and CLC ensures that their voices are heard.

The CLC is funded by the Florida Bar Foundation, The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, Private Donations and The Hillsborough County Bar Foundation.

Put Something Back/Dade Legal Aid

123 NW First Ave.
Miami, FL 33128
Telephone:   (305) 579-5733
Email:             psb@dadelegalaid.org
Website:        http://www.dadelegalaid.org/

10% Children’s Law

Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

Since 1949, Dade Legal Aid (Legal Aid Society) has been serving the unmet legal needs of low-income residents in the areas of Family Law, Domestic Violence, Guardianship, Child & Teen Advocacy, Human Sex Trafficking, Guardian ad Litem, Bankruptcy, Consumer, Housing, Small Claims, Immigration, Benefits, Disaster Relief and Nonprofit Incorporation.  Annually, the agency’s comprehensive legal services impact over 10,000 needy clients, families and the community. 

Put Something Back, the premier pro bono provider in Miami, offers a pipeline of opportunities for attorneys, including solo and small firms, corporate, government sector, public interest, emeritus, medium to large law firms, voluntary bar associations, law schools and others seeking to accept cases, staff clinics, co-counsel and mentor. Put Something Back connects pre-screened clients with dedicated individual volunteers, law school clinics, law firms, disaster recovery programs and a network of community based partners breaking barriers to access to justice for diverse populations in need.