Children's Rights Clinic
Professor Jacqueline Deane
Open to 3L (preferred) and 2L students
Maximum of 10 students
|Fall and Spring semesters
No prerequisites or co-requisites.
The Children’s Rights Clinic will be offered to up to 10 students each semester as a semester-long, 5-credit course. The clinic involves the representation of adolescents in a variety of civil legal settings with a particular focus on LGBTQ young people. The seminar focuses on issues of representing children particularly in child welfare proceedings.
Students in the clinic will have the opportunity to work in one of four legal settings providing representation to young people. The four fieldwork sites are as follows:
(1) The Peter Cicchino Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center (“PCYP”) – At this site, students will participate in legal clinics with one-on-one client counseling at drop-in centers for homeless and LGBTQ young people and will provide legal advocacy and representation on cases arising from those sessions. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in PCYP’s systemic advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ youth, including the mistreatment of LGBTQ youth in New York City's foster care and juvenile detention systems.
(2) The Door Legal Services Center – The Door is a multi-service program for youth, which provides young people aged 12 to 21 with a full array of services including health care, educational services (including GED, ESL, computer classes, and tutoring), job training and placement. At the Legal Service Center, students will work with the Door’s attorneys primarily on immigration and foster care related legal issues as well as other matters and will engage in legal rights trainings for youth at the Door and in foster care.
(3) The Juvenile Rights Division of the New York Legal Aid Society (“JRD”) – JRD represents children in child protection, juvenile delinquency, and PINS (Persons in Need of Supervision) proceedings in New York City Family Court. Students at this site will work with attorneys in the Manhattan and Brooklyn trial offices on all aspects of child protective cases involving adolescents.
(4) Advocates for Children (AFC) - AFC is a non-profit organization that has provided information, advice, and advocacy on education issues to families of children with special needs in New York City for more than 35 years. AFC works to ensure equal educational access through a combination of strategies including direct service, impact litigation, policy reform work, and parent training. Students assigned to AFC will work closely with clients throughout all stages of representation from intake through investigation to preparation and execution of administrative hearings regarding the provision of special education. Students placed at AFC may also have the opportunity to assist attorneys with work on one of AFC’s pending class action lawsuits or policy reform initiatives depending on the student’s specific interests and scheduling.
In each of these fieldwork sites, students will have the opportunity to develop the skills involved in identifying and pursuing solutions for adolescent clients who need assistance for a specific legal problem but who typically have a wide range of other legal and non-legal problems that urgently require attention and that may or may not be related to the legal issue that brought the young person to the lawyer.
The fieldwork will be complemented with a weekly 2-hour seminar that uses class discussion and simulation exercises centered around the various issues involved in representing young people. The seminar will examine the role of a lawyer for child clients (including issues of professional responsibility) and the various models of representation provided by the four fieldwork sites. The seminar will focus in particular on issues in representing children in child welfare proceedings. The simulations will teach lawyering skills in the context of a child protective case with a particular focus on client interviewing and counseling. The seminar will also provide an opportunity to examine broad, systemic issues in the Family Court system, including the treatment of LGBTQ youth.
Students should fill out and submit the standard application, resume and unofficial transcript using CAMS, the online application system. If you have questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Susan Hodges. Students should feel free to contact the professor Jackie Deane via e-mail with any additional questions about the clinic.
Students who are interested in learning more about the course may wish to speak with the following students who were in the clinic during the 2008-09 school year:
|Fall 2008||Spring 2009|
* 5 credits includes 3 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits.