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Spring 2022 Clinic

Child Advocacy Clinic: Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice

Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.

Required Class Component: Child Advocacy: Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice Clinical Seminar (2 spring classroom credits). Students who enroll in this clinic will be enrolled in the required course by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs.

Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.

By Permission: No.

Add/Drop Deadline: Early drop of November 29, 2021.

LLM Students: International students on F-1 student visas are required to have Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization; LL.M. students are not eligible for CPT.

Placement Site: Various externship placements. Visit the CAP website to see a list of recent placement sites.

Child Advocacy Clinic:  Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice is designed to educate students about a range of social change strategies and to encourage critical thinking about the pros and cons of different approaches. It addresses a variety of substantive areas impacting the lives of children, with a focus on child welfare (abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption), education, and juvenile justice. The Clinic is relevant not only for students with a particular interest in children’s issues, but also for those more generally interested in social change.

Enrollment Options: Child Advocacy Clinic: Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice offers two different clinical fieldwork options: a spring-only clinic and a winter-spring clinic. This offering is for the spring Child Advocacy Clinic. Spring clinical students work part-time (16-20 hours/week for 4-5 clinical credits) at local organizations in the Greater Boston area. Enrollment in the spring clinic is capped at 12 students.

This course is open only to students who have not taken the Child Advocacy Clinic: System-Involved Youth (held in the fall semester). 

Fieldwork Component: Students are placed in a wide array of fieldwork settings, ranging from organizations providing individual advocacy, to those promoting systemic change through impact litigation and legislative reform, to grassroots organizing initiatives, to social enterprises. Some students will work for reform from within the system and others from outside.

Based on their particular placements, students may: engage in courtroom advocacy; participate in school and home visits; assist with interviews of child victims; analyze social science and psychological research; leverage the media and write op-ed articles; prepare for city council or legislative hearings; provide trainings to youth, parents, teachers, attorneys, and police officers; develop legislative reform proposals; participate in mediations; and provide strategic advice to start-ups. For instance:

  • In the child welfare area, students may represent individual children who are abused and neglected; serve alongside District Attorneys prosecuting caretakers accused of child maltreatment; or work with juvenile court judges adjudicating care and protection and other child welfare cases.
  • In the education area, students may engage in efforts to advance educational outcomes for low-income students; participate in special education cases; or work with the state agency charged with overseeing schools on issues such as charter schools, assessment and accountability, student rights, and school discipline.
  • In the juvenile justice area, students may support legislative changes to improve conditions of confinement for juveniles; promote policies to reform the justice system for youth of color; or work alongside juvenile defenders in delinquency and youthful offender cases.

Note that many placements cut across substantive areas and engage students in a host of advocacy strategies and skills.

Matching Process: Once enrolled in the Clinic, the Child Advocacy Program (CAP) will provide students with a list of fieldwork placement organizations and their potential projects. Students will give CAP information about their background and interests and rank their placement preferences. CAP will then match students with a placement based on their preferences, the organizations’ needs, and CAP’s mission to provide students with a broad spectrum of experiences. Please note that the matching process takes place during the fall semester; enrolled students will need to be available to communicate with CAP and their host organization about various details.  Visit the CAP Clinic webpage for more about the Clinic, including answers to frequently asked questions and a list of recent placement sites.

This course is part of the Child Advocacy Program (CAP). Please see the CAP website for information about other related courses.