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Our mission is to give a child a strong voice in a legal proceeding that has a critical impact on his or her life.
The Children’s Law Center (CLC) CLCis a non-profit law firm founded on the belief that children deserve skilled, zealous advocates in the court system. Our mission is to give a child a strong voice in a legal proceeding that has a critical impact on his or her life. CLC staff provides representation to children in custody/visitation, domestic violence, guardianship and related child protective cases. The staff is composed of an Executive Director, two Deputy Directors, Directors of each trial office, a Director of Social Work, a Director of Paralegal and Volunteer Services, staff attorneys, social workers, paralegals, administrative staff and volunteers. In 2012, CLC provided representation to 6,500 children in 8,000 cases.
Children are unique and express themselves in both verbal and non-verbal ways. Understanding how they feel about where they want to live and with whom they feel safe are vital to each case, yet often difficult to spot. CLC attorneys, social workers and paralegals gather this understanding by interviewing the child, each party to the proceeding, other members living within the home, collateral sources such as teachers, guidance counselors, therapist, doctors, and caseworkers, among many others. Zealously and effectively representing children during each courtroom appearance is at the heart of what we do every day at CLC. With our Reflective Advocacy Practice (RAP) we actively look at policy and practice implications impacting children involved in the court and other community systems. Additionally, one of our core values is to offer a continuum of client management services once the case is transitioned from the courtroom back into the community. Both the legal and social work staff receive intensive and specialized training on the issues involved in representing children. These topics include child development and interviewing skills, the effect of separation and divorce upon parents and children, the dynamics and impact upon children of domestic violence and child abuse, and the appropriate use of alternative dispute resolution. Training also includes trial advocacy skills, ethics and negotiation techniques.
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