Children's Rights Litigation


3031 W. Grand Blvd., Ste. 440
Detroit, MI 48202
Telephone:       (313) 875-4233
Fax:                 (313) 875-4313

The Detroit Center for Family Advocacy (CFA) provides legal advocacy and social work services to low-income families to prevent the unnecessary placement and prolonged stay of children in foster care. By doing so, the CFA aims to keep children safe with their families, minimize the emotional trauma caused by removal, and allow the foster care system to focus its resources on children who need its protection. The Center is limited to serving clients in Wayne County. The CFA gives at-risk families the legal tools necessary to protect their own children. CFA lawyers, with the assistance of a social worker and parent advocate, use legal mechanisms—such as guardianships, child custody or personal protection orders, and educational advocacy—to allow family members to protect and provide for children without the need for expensive and traumatic out-of-family placement. The CFA also assists kinship and other caregivers to overcome legal obstacles in adopting or obtaining permanent guardianship, thus allowing children to exit government foster care.

The Center, which started in July 2009, does not currently utilize volunteer attorneys, but may do so in the future.

One Heritage Pl., Ste. 210
Southgate, MI 48195
Telephone:       (734) 281-1900
Fax:                 (734) 281-1231

The Michigan Children's Law Center (MCLC) is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, which provides legal services to children in the trial and appellate courts of Wayne County. Its mission is to advocate for the safety and well-being of children in the courts and through other programs and services. The Center represents children who have been neglected or abused or who have been charged with delinquent behavior. MCLC works with social workers, doctors, psychologists, school personnel and other professionals to insure that all issues relating to each child are properly addressed.

MCLC's initially provided legal services to children in child protective (neglect) cases. The caseload has since expanded to delinquency cases and appellate work. Since November 2006, MCLC has been assigned over 8200 child protective and delinquency petitions and at any one time average approximately 3000 open petitions. MCLC attorneys serve as the lawyer-guardian ad litem (L-GAL) in child protective proceedings, protecting the client's legal rights and advocating for the child's best interests. The Center also represents the best interests of children in custody disputes.

In delinquency matters, the MCLC attorneys provide legal representation to minors charged with violations of laws or ordinances, running away from home, acts of incorrigibility, and school truancy. After adjudication, the MCLC attorney represents the juvenile at progress hearings, administrative review hearings, and probation review hearings until the Court dismisses the wardship or the youth ages out of the system.

The Center also presents programs and workshops and participates in task forces and collaborative councils whose goals and objectives are to more effectively prevent the maltreatment of children, redirect the lives of at risk children and improve the health, education, safety and well-being of children.

625 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
Telephone:       (734) 763-5000
Fax:                 (734) 647-4042

100% Children's Law

Child Advocacy Law Clinic
The Child Advocacy Law Clinic (CALC), the oldest child welfare law clinic in the country in which law students, under the supervision of experienced faculty members, represent children, parents, and other parties in foster-care proceedings. Created in 1976, CALC has represented thousands of families involved in the child-welfare system and has trained thousands of students who now serve in leadership positions in nonprofit organizations, state and local government agencies, and private firms. CALC graduates often rank their involvement in the clinic as the most formative experience in their legal education.

In addition to directly representing families in trial court proceedings, students in the clinic have drafted statutes, conducted trainings, written articles, and handled appeals. The work of the students and faculty has led to systemic reform on both the state and national level and has earned the praise of judges, policy makers, and others.

Juvenile Justice Clinic
In the Juvenile Justice Clinic (JJC), students represent minors charged with violations of the criminal law and status offenses in Michigan's family courts. Students have first-chair responsibility for the JJC clients and their cases. This responsibility means that students directly engage in, and reflect on, the practice of law while in law school, under the supervision of experienced professors. While primarily a litigation clinic, students may, from time to time, handle appellate matters and may be involved in public policy issues.

In the course of the clinic, students will develop litigation skills including case investigation, trial preparation, and presenting evidence and argument in the courtroom. Casework, which is supervised by a clinical professor, may involve client interviewing and counseling, legal research and motion drafting, negotiation with prosecuting authorities, and courtroom presentation of the case. Students are encouraged to take a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to their representation and to develop creative or systemic solutions to the legal problems presented. In addition to trial advocacy and casework, the classroom seminar will also focus on legal ethics, the basics of child development, juvenile justice reform, and other relevant topics.

Pediatric Advocacy Clinic
The mission of the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic (PAC) is to achieve justice and dignity for all low-income children and their families by integrating high-quality legal advocacy into health care settings. As a medical-legal partnership, they pursue their mission by uniting health care providers, attorneys, and social workers to eliminate the effects of poverty on children's health and well-being. By representing individual families and supporting health care providers in addressing social issues that impact child health, PAC seeks to improve the health and quality of life of low-income pediatric patients and their families.